When we think about what it means to do whatever it takes to get to Jesus, about crying out again and again and again and not giving up on it, I realize in my heart that my greatest challenge here is my own entitlement. As a person of faith, as someone who has read the Scriptures and knows the stories and has given her life to this healing God, I feel like I'm entitled to wholeness. I feel like all it should take is my simply asking (and sometimes, I can even convince myself that if God really loves me, I shouldn't even have to ask). I deserve to live a full life, just like Jesus promised. I deserve to not have to struggle and wrestle and fight with the things that plague me here.
I want my faith to be easy. I want it to be as simple as reading the stories can somehow make it seem. I want to catch just a moment of Jesus's attention and have Him speak just a simple word and make it all better. When I start out in this mindset, I start in a place of faith. I believe God is who He says He is. I believe He is a healer. I believe that He loves me. The one guy in the Gospels said, "Lord, if you are willing," and I believe Jesus is willing. Because of who He is, because I believe wholeheartedly in who He is, I believe it ought to be easy. I believe my wholeness ought to come just like that.
And then, it's not. It doesn't happen just like I want it to. I don't feel that instant relief in just a moment's breath. The wholeness I seek does not just come washing over my life like a flood.
So then, I change my tactics, and it's no longer just about who He is. It quickly becomes about who I am, and here's where my entitlement really starts to show. I start to think about all the things I've already been through in my life. All the brokenness I've already had to put up with. All the battles I've already had to fight. I start to think about the wars I've been engaged in and how, if I put my story together just right, it is one fight after another after another up until whatever the current one is that I'm certain He's supposed to take away from me. That I'm certain He's supposed to heal me from. And then I convince myself, and I try to convince God, that I've already put in my time. I've already had a hard enough road. Whatever I'm crying out about today, I deserve at least this little win. Don't I?
Like I said, I feel like I'm entitled to my wholeness. You see how this is going? Can you relate?
It's just because I know in the depth of my heart that we were made for more than this. I was made for more than this. This broken world wasn't the plan. This sin-sick land wasn't the plan. This life of struggle wasn't the plan. God breathed life into the world and said it was 'very good' and I look around, and it's not very good any more. Not right now. But I want it to be. I want it to be everything God wanted it to be. I want it to be the kind of glorious creation He intended from the very beginning. I want a taste of heaven, and I want it now.
I get in trouble for my idealism, but I hold onto Heaven like a kid with a bug. I giggle when it's crawling all over me. I get tickled when it moves across my heart. I ache for the way things were meant to be, and so when I'm wrestling with brokenness, I hurt to the core of my being, and I just want the fullness of the life that God designed me for. I want my wholeness. It starts, for me, in a pure place, I think? It's easy for it to become impure, but it's really not for me about my comfort or my own wealth; it's about satisfying this pain deep in my heart that knows this is not the way that it was meant to be.
And then, I remember that Jacob walked with a limb.
The righteous father of God's people, the faithful servant who worked for what he loved in this world, the namesake of an entire nation who bore the story of God's goodness and glory wrestled with God and walked away limping. For the rest of his life. His sojourn in a broken world knocked his hip permanently out of socket, and he remembered that night on the shores of the Jabbok with every step that he took until the day that he died.
And I have the audacity to feel entitled to my wholeness.
I don't think it's wrong to want God's healing in my life. I don't think it's wrong to stand on the side of the road and cry out. I don't think it's wrong to press my way through the crowds and do whatever I can to get close enough to touch Him. I don't think it's wrong to climb a tree to get a glimpse of His glory. I don't think it's wrong to plead for mercy. I don't think it's wrong to believe that God wants to heal me, to trust that He is willing.
But I do think it's wrong to stomp my feet and say that's the only response I'll accept. I do think it's wrong to hold my faith hostage to God's action or worse, to hold God hostage to my faith. I do think it's wrong to wear blinders that only let me see one way out of my brokenness, one answer to my aching heart. I do think it's wrong to demand my wholeness when the hard truth is that God hasn't promised my wholeness in a broken world; He's only promised it in a new creation.
And that means that maybe I cry out and press through the crowds and climb a tree and plead for mercy...and walk away with a limp. Maybe every step I take for the rest of my life is marked by this moment, by this time when I wrestled with God. Maybe all I get, for now, is the look of love that I see in His eyes when He looks at me. Maybe that has to be enough. Maybe it is.
It's just hard because I want more. Sorry, but I do. I want the fullness of everything that God has for me, all of it. I want my wholeness. I want it to be easy. I know, more often than not, it is simply hard.
So I keep crying out, pressing through, pressing on, and climbing trees, and I don't think I'll ever stop. But at the same time, I'm practicing my limp. I'm coming to terms with the idea that I might remember this night forever, with every step that I take for the rest of my life. Well, this life. And I'm starting to be okay with that. Because I still see the love in His eyes when He looks at me, no matter how broken I feel.