Had the high honor of drinking coffee with a pastor friend earlier this week. As we talked, I recounted some thoughts and emotions from years back. As I did, we both laughed as we related to the sentiment.
Years ago I remember trying to encourage the church to “keep hope alive” by communicating my conviction that we “were on the verge” of God doing something great. Did I believe it? At times. But more often than not, I was discouraged, depressed, and would get in the car to leave a Sunday morning and think, “What the crap am I doing?!” But…I would keep speaking of just feeling like we “were on the verge” of something great. It was the language of “potential.” I hate the word “potential.” You may try to use it positively, but what most hear is “you aren’t living up to your capability.“
In the midst of continually claiming “we were on the verge” was an insecurity that at any moment someone could call me on it. After all, how long can you keep saying you are “on the verge”? It is a time-bound promise. And eventually, people begin to ignore the “hang on…God is just about to…”
Looking back now…we really were on the verge. And God really was just about to… But it wasn’t in any manner that I had hoped for, expected, or communicated. And it included a lot more suffering and sadness than I would have hoped. In fact, he pretty much crushed my anticipation of what I thought we were “on the verge of” and had to start anew.
And now looking back…thank God!