By Mindy Caliguire - Saturday, January 24, 2009
"I have come to bring fire on the earth,
and how I wish it were already kindled!
But I have a baptism to undergo,
and what constraint I am under
until it is completed!"
(two exclamation points!)
In reading Luke 12:49-50 this morning, I am struck by something I've never noticed: Jesus felt the constraint of the not-yet reality of being human. The "baptism" he needed to undergo was his own death and resurrection. "How I wish [the fire he would one day bring] were already kindled! But I have a baptism to undergo..." Divine patience! A Holy Longing!
Imagining Jesus feeling constraint as he waited for God's timing and plan to unfold stops me in my tracks this morning. Each of us feel that... and I find his example to me, today, is mixed. We, Jesus and I, are not alike.
Un-similarly (yes, I know it's not a word), he knew the exact reason for the delay, and his knowledge of the bigger picture in this case clearly bolstered and under-girded his willingness to wait on God's timing despite Holy Discontent. He is content to wait, because he knows full well what must happen first. We don't always know the reasons why perfectly good desires--even "ministry" desires--are delayed. Hardly ever, in my experience.
But similarly, I am able to wait on God's timing--even when I don't know the "why". Jesus could see, and I cannot. But though I cannot see, I can still trust the unseen One who surely governs my world.
This story affirms for me both the emotional tension of living in the "now" and the "not yet"--and also the certain promise of God's purposes unfolding.
It does really feel like constraint--aligned with, in our case, blind but firm hope.
How about you... have you experienced a Holy longing?
What did you do with that tension between the "now" and the "not yet"?