You know the games you play when you are in love, crushing out on someone and dying to know if they are feeling the same way about you as you are about them? This is a story about the curious and exciting way we, as humans, go about the beginnings of a romantic relationship.
Back in the college days of my youth, I was falling deeply in love with a young man who swept me off my feet at the young age of 19. I was immature and inexperienced in love, but that makes the story a little more exciting, doesn’t it? Love was new to me. It wooed me into the captivating days of losing my appetite, forgetting responsibilities, and finding it hard to sleep without dreaming of “him”.
Much to my excitement, the relationship bloomed into more than a just a friendship. It was obvious to both of us. Words were not spoken but expressions and eye contact said it all. For him, the time was drawing near to have that initial “DTR”, or define the relationship. We were on two different college campuses and back in the day, we did not have mobile phones, email, or text messages for the gratification of instant communication. The process of growing a relationship was much slower, waiting on phone calls by staying at home, and having to be patient with the postal system’s snail mail.
So one day, when the time had finally come for him to bare his soul and feelings to me, he decided to have a one-way conversation by recording a long audio of himself on cassette tape. How brave of him, knowing that I would listen to his words over and over, evaluating each sentence and studying every tone of his voice. He was vulnerable. He was exposed. He took the risk of opening his heart to me in order to pursue the next level of intimacy. It was not an easy thing, as you can imagine.
He pushed the tape into the pocket of his jeans and headed to the post office, dreading the three long days of waiting as his precious message traveled from Mississippi to Alabama. What would I think? Would he have scared me? Or would I share his passion and enthusiasm?
As he made his way to the post office, he ran into a mutual friend who attended school with me at Auburn. She told him she was headed back to school and asked if he had anything to send. “Perfect!” he thought, “Anna could be listening to this tape by tomorrow.” He was thrilled to shorten the dreaded wait for my response. So he trusted her to be the carrier of his precious cargo.
As fate would have it, some would say, but I like to think of it as sheer providence, the tape was not labeled. Our friend seemed to think it was a music audio. She stuffed it in her purse and thought to herself, “I’ll give it to Anna whenever I next see her.”
Stop and think about that for a minute. Sigh.
Without knowing it, she stuffed his deepest feelings for the new love of his life down into the darkness for an entire month. Yes, you read that right, an entire month.
In an instant, the pause button was pushed on our breathtaking new relationship.
And so, he waited for my response, unwilling to reach out in anyway, trying to allow me time and space.
And also I waited for his next step in this unfolding love story - and it never came.
He waited. I waited. All the while, our true feelings for each other remained a mystery.
Negative thoughts began to set in. Of course our relationship would deteriorate without the open lines of communication. Hurt and frustration, fear and rejection on both sides caused us to emotionally distance ourselves from one another and disconnect from the story that we’d thought was unfolding. It was over.
Until . . .
That day. That unforgettable day. Having accepted that this relationship had ended without even a respectable word from him (what a loser, right?), I walked slowly back to my dorm from class. I passed this girl, an acquaintance, who unbeknownst to me, meant more than I realized. She quickly said hello and told me she had something to give me. She dug around in her purse and said, “Tyler gave this to me weeks ago and I’ve been carrying it around to give to you the next time we saw one another.”
That was the moment.
The silence was broken. I had no idea what she was about to give me but I knew that she held the key, the key to unlock the mystery of our month of misunderstanding.
As you might imagine, I ran back to my dorm like a prisoner sprinting to jump over a barbed wire fence to freedom. Heart racing, out of breath, I grabbed my earphones, popped in the tape, and pushed the play button. Tender words of love came through loud and clear as the tears rushed down my face. In a heartbeat I grabbed the phone to call him and break the silence. Relief doesn’t even begin to describe the tone I heard in his voice. Our feelings were so strong that at that point, it seemed as if nothing could ever separate us again.
The theme of my little love story is this: waiting. The Bible encourages us to wait on God. All throughout scripture there are stories about people waiting on God to move and act on their behalf. Just recently I stumbled on this passage that says,
“So the LORD must wait for you to come to him so he can show you his love and compassion. For the LORD is a faithful God. Blessed are those who wait for his help.” Isaiah 30:18
What? God is waiting on me? This verse states that two are waiting. He waits on me and I wait on Him. What in the world is He waiting on? I pondered and prayed and asked him to show me. I believe He did so by reminding me of the month of misunderstanding.
If you are a believer you know it is God’s desire to have a love relationship with you. But what exactly does this mean? What you think about God and His love for you may be the most important thing about you. So often we misunderstand God. He longs for us to see Him as He really is.
Do I see God in light of my circumstances or do I see my circumstances in light of who God is?
When I think of waiting on God, typically it’s me waiting on certain circumstances to change. I am assuming you are the same. The Bible says that we are made in His image. He is a relational God who longs for us to love Him and feel loved by Him. This is the back and forth of waiting. As I engage in the love relationship where He woos me to Himself, I come to understand and be less consumed with whatever I was waiting on. When I see God as He longs for me to see Him, our relationship goes to the next level; intimacy increases, passion multiplies. Experiencing His love for me settles my heart. We trust those we love. Perfect love cast out fear.
Just as I waited to hear the audiotape from Tyler, God is waiting for me to hear His words of love and believe that I am ready for intimacy with Him. And then, of course, He longs to hear my response.
So it’s a beautiful romance with Jesus. I wait on Him and He waits on me.
Now is your time. Break the silence of misunderstanding today. Tell Him how you feel, bare your heart and soul, and listen for His loving response.