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Moody

Abandon all hope but one

It's my birthday, and I'm not quite sure how to take that. A dear friend is hurting, struggling through rejection this week from something he dearly loves, with everything that can trigger and mean. It's easier for me to identify with his struggle than I'd like, both past and present, and maybe that's just the way of things. Regardless, it all casts a shadow, and while I've so much for which I'm grateful, the celebration contrasts with the sadness in ways that make its presence more stark than on more ordinary days. It's not one or the other—it's both, in tension. Neither is false, but celebration and sadness don't play well together, so how to be present without trying to shut down one or the other is a bit of a mystery, especially when I don't have much freedom to invite others into the sadness.

As with anything, the call on my life is to be faithful, and that's so often not what I want to do. Sometimes being faithful only seems to cost, while not doing so can feel so much more comfortable and comforting, even if it doesn't resolve a thing. Hoping in God means steadfastly refusing anything other than His help, and sometimes all I want is the help, regardless of its source. It's like waiting for rescue and waving planes off because they aren't the one for which I'm waiting—after a while, that just feels crazy.

God is my only hope, in life and in death, on my birthday and every other day. Thankfully, I haven't yet found myself in circumstances that tempt me to talk myself out of that truth. But boy, does it feel limiting in some respects: if God is my only hope, nothing else can be. It's one thing to wait for Him in silence, but it's quite another to wait amid the internal and external noise of temptations—fixes and balms that can be applied on my schedule, with more predictable results than this God for whom I wait. Natural as it is to go with another rescuer, a less-wild lover, it's also the very definition of idolatry.

I'd take communion every day if I could. I need food for the way, and rest. Even for that, there is waiting, and whenever I wait, I'm tempted to go another way. Sometimes I do—too often. But I can't escape the nature of the waiting and the hope to which I've been called, even if I don't like what it looks like just now.

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