The Glorious "Yet"

3:02 PM

Nothing could have prepared me for the empty feeling in the pit of my stomach as I watched my husband pass through airport security and out of sight. As I walked through the terminal, tears and mascara streamed down my face, while passers by stared in a mixture of awkwardness and concern. 

I felt numb. My husband of two weeks was boarding a plane and flying home, to what should have been our home. Sitting in the parking lot, I let the tears flow freely again as I tried not to imagine what this moment should have been like. So many of my dreams of newly married life were out the window. 

"Jesus, why won't you let me go home?" I cried out to God with a sob. 

The summer leading up to our wedding had been so full of hope. After marrying in a civil ceremony in Northern Ireland in June, I rushed back to the States to apply for my U.K. visa. Months passed and finally it was our wedding day. We'd long since decided to cancel our honeymoon in the Republic of Ireland so we could get a full two weeks together in America (a luxury in a long distance relationship.) 

Every morning, I would wake up and check my email as quickly as possible, hoping for some word on the visa. It never came. Finally our time ran out and he had to leave. 

The next few days and weeks after Nathan left passed agonizingly slowly in a fog of pain and hurt. The one verse I clung to was "Hope in God, for I will yet praise Him, my comfort and my God." (Psalm 43:5)

As autumn came and summer faded away, I unpacked my "married suitcase" at last. I had packed it with such hope, imagining opening it up for the first time in my new home with my husband. As I hung my winter clothes back up, I allowed myself to dream of married life together. In my mind's eye, I saw myself standing in the kitchen attempting to be domestic, Nathan coming home to a warm house after a long day's work, lazy Sunday afternoons spent cuddled up on the couch with a book... With a pang, I realized that none of those things was going to happen for a great while.

 Now, after four months of waiting, I still have no visa, and no permission to be with my husband. Though I wish I could write to you from a place of epic triumph, instead I write from the middle of the story, the nasty bit you wish you could flip through to get to the good part.

There are points in your life you find yourself completely reliant on the mercy of God. It is an awful thing to find yourself utterly powerless to change your circumstances. And yet, I ask myself, aren't we always? Is there a moment of our lives that we have absolute control of our surroundings? Is there a day that goes by exactly as we'd like or a moment just as we planned?

Perhaps seasons of seeming powerlessness are nearer to the truth than we'd care to admit. Don't pay attention to the embarrassingly weak "self" behind the curtain. We'd much prefer the facade of superiority and control.

So if I come to the conclusion that I have no control over my life, I must also ask myself who does? In these difficult days, I've turned to the Bible for hope and found myself astonished at what lies in its pages. Story after story is full of powerless men in unalterable situations who were rescued in fantastic ways by an almighty God. Take Daniel in the lion's den, or Moses between the Egyptians and the Red Sea, Joseph in prison, Esther in the face of genocide, Abraham childless at 80, David, an anointed king on the run, and Jesus on the cross. 

The middle of those people's stories was brutal, and clearly far worse than anything I'm facing, but the dramatic principal is the same. Those moments when they faced their worst fears were also when their faith was revealed and God's omnipotence was displayed. 

Although I long  to prove my love for God by having faith in the midst of unconquerable adversity, I find myself crying out, "My God, my God, why have you forsaken me?" While daring to be a Daniel, I find my heart of hearts more closely resembles a Peter, sucking up sea water while the God of the universe patiently holds out His hand. 

I cannot conjure up faith and neither can you. However, in the words of C.S. Lewis, "Faith is the art of holding onto things is spite of your changing moods and circumstances." 

As the days and weeks go by with no word as to when I'll be reunited with my husband, I hold onto the fact that though I am powerless, He is powerful and the King of all the nations will not keep us separated for long. I've been in tight spots before and usually I panic. But this time I want to be different. This time, I want to walk on water instead of sinking beneath the surface. I want to part the Red Sea instead of trembling on the shore line. I want to stand in the lion's den without fearing what's to come.

Perhaps God allows us to slowly walk through fire in order to strengthen our mettle, not to damage us. Faith rises up in the cruelest, most uncertain of circumstances. 

I suspect someone out there will read these words and understand exactly what it's like to find yourself between a rock and a hard place. I want to say to you, hope in GOD for you will yet praise Him. Yes, things are dark. No, it may not look like there's hope,  but there isn't a detail of your life that goes unaccounted for. The God that shut the lion's mouths, parted the Red Sea, put David on the throne, and rose Jesus from the dead is not just good at writing tempestuous plot twists, He also writes magnificent finales. 

Faith finds roots in storms. Faith is born from suffering and glittering in triumph. If you are in the middle of your story as I am, hold off from despair. The God who didn't leave the cross as the end of the story will not let the pen slip on yours. We will yet praise Him. So wait for your glorious "yet." 

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