Waiting, and change, would be much easier if we were able to know the possibilities and to know what we are supposed to do with them...ahead of time.
We live into the future, always trying to figure out what's coming and what we're supposed to do with it. When the question is asked, are we supposed to say yes or no? At the fork in the road, do we go left or right? With all these glitzy lights and flashing signs, do we stop or keep on walking? All of these things that depend on what hasn't happened yet, and here we are trying to figure out what to do.
We want to know what the faithful response is. We want to know which answer is truth. So we spend all our waiting in what-ifs, hoping God will tell us what to do before we have to make our statement. Hoping God will narrow the choices before we have to choose.
Sorry. That's just how it is. You can play out as many scenarios in your head as you want, and you will be able to find equal measures of truth in all of them. One will seem just as good as the other. You'll throw your hands up in the air and say, "God! How am I supposed to decide?"
The answer? By faith. But faith doesn't dwell in hypotheticals.
That's what's so hard. We want to know what God would have us do, but until the decision is upon us, He doesn't say. The God of the possible - the God of the impossible - doesn't seem to invest much in possibilities. He doesn't play out what happens if you go left or right. He doesn't expound on the logic of saying yes or no. He doesn't lay out the implications of choosing this or that.
Because faith is never a matter of pros and cons.
It's not a list of goods and bads. It's not a comparison of trials and triumphs. Oddly enough, what's possible has nothing to do with the possibilities.
That's hard for a people like us who are trying to get this faith thing right. Who want to do what is pleasing to God. Who will spend all our waiting praying over the possibilities, trying to figure out what's right. What we're missing, however, in all our postulation is the positive. We're missing truth. Truth only comes when the moment of choice is upon us. When one way or another, this is about to be real.
When it's about to be real, we must pick truth.
Yes, but we've been through the possibilities and they all seem like truth! God hasn't revealed which is truth! Of course not. Until this very moment, there has been no truth. There has been no reality on which to reflect. But now that this time is here, what we generally find is one of two things.
First, that there is no truth and lie. No good and bad. Rather, simply a good and better. A better and best. Either choice could possibly be truth, and then it is up to you to decide which truth you want to make your truth, and ask God to bless that choice. You may find that honestly, you could go either way. You could go left or right. You could say yes or no. Either would lead you right back to God. In that case, faith...is choosing at all. It's refusing to be paralyzed by the options, refusing to hold out any longer. It's knowing you can take that next step and choosing to take it.
Let's be honest: this is sorely overused in our present society. People say, "It doesn't matter what you do; God will go with you." That's baloney. We have used this to justify doing whatever feels right without sacrificing our faith. But the end result is we sacrifice our God for the man in the mirror. God will go with you; He's promised that much. His promise, though, is not a pass to do whatever you want. You ought to at least try to be faithful. You ought to try to be true. You ought to look at your Traveling Companion and ask often which way He wants to go. Otherwise, who's really along for the ride?
Jesus take the wheel!
The second thing we find, and this is more common although most of us aren't paying attention when it happens, is that when the moment comes, you know which is right and wrong. You know whether it's yes or no. You know whether it's left or right. All of a sudden, clear as day, in the moment when possibility becomes truth, you know. You don't have time to process it. You don't have time to argue. You don't have time to sort it out. But you know. The only question that remains, then, is whether you're willing to commit to that answer. Are you willing to say a difficult no? An unsure yes? Are you willing to turn left when the right is rainbows? Or right when left looks lucky? Are you willing to walk toward truth when you see it or are you stuck in your list of pros and cons?
That's, I think, why God doesn't entertain the hypotheticals. What He really wants is for you to be open to truth when it happens. You don't always get the luxury of waiting, the time to consider. Some days, you just have to make a choice. Right there. On the spot. In those times, you have to be listening for the voice of God, not the rationale of reason. You have to be ready to follow what's revealed, to take one small step in a faithful direction when you know that is truth but you don't yet know why.
Which means, in the waiting, your time is not empty. Your heart is not void. Rather than dwell on the possibilities, you dwell in the God of the possible. You learn to listen to His voice. You consider what He's doing in you. You contemplate His word over your life. So that when the time comes, when this is about to get real, you know what real is as revealed in you. You're able to see that maybe they are both true, but one is truth. One is the choice that will lead you toward what God is doing in you. One is the next logical step toward faith, if ever there could be such a marrying of logic and faith. You spend your waiting preparing not to choose, but to know. To listen and let truth speak.
That's all you can do. In the waiting, there is no truth; only possibilities. But in whatever is possible, there is truth. Prepare your heart to hear it, your spirit to embrace it, and your feet to follow.
Such is faithfulness.