Finding Hope When The Perfect Guy Doesn't Call
My jaw dropped when I first saw him. Literally. It was ridiculous, uncontrolled gaping for a good one-one-thousand-two-one-thousand-three-one-thousand. I didn't even know people like him existed! And he seemed perfect. Godly. Gorgeous. Single. And I thought he liked me too. The hope of all the possibilities enveloped my heart and mind.
So I waited. And I prompted - gave him opportunities. Put myself in his way just a little bit, like Ruth, I thought.
When several months went by and there was still no phone call from Mr. Dreamboat, I realized it was finally time to let go.
Although I had known full well that I might not end up with Sir Gapealot in the end, and despite all I had done to prepare myself for that reality, my heart shattered. I watched as all the hopes I cultivated for myself over the past months - hopes of finally, one day being with him - pulled out from under me. With a knife twisting in my heart, I made myself look fully into the face of the reality: I will be facing this next season of my life still wearing the status of single. I will continue to return home from work each day to my usual solitary evening routine, and he would not be there. I considered this reality, and I was afraid.
Hope deferred makes the heart sick, but a desire fulfilled is a tree of life. -Proverbs 13:12 (ESV)
As an introvert, I love coming home after a long day to a quiet house and an empty schedule. But I met him, and hoped that with enough time (aka, according to my specific schedule and the timeline I determined was the most reasonable), that we would eventually be together. It was this hope alone that sustained me for months on end.
I had known in my head, of course, that it might not happen. I knew, too, that it might never happen, that this "season" of singleness could very well last my whole life. Which, on the one hand, I was okay with. But if I was honest with myself, I had hung all of my hopes on the possibility of him, so much so that when I let those hopes go, I was left with only despair.
The Bible tells us that love "hopes all things" (1 Cor. 13:7). For me, that translated into hope that I would be with him. But when that did not happen, not only did I find that I was called to still love him in the agape, self-sacrificing, wishing-for-his-greatest-good-even-if-it-means-he-marries-someone-else kind of way, I also found that I was called to still hope. But for what? If I'm not going to marry him - or marry anyone - and I am still called to love him, just as we are all called to love our neighbours and fellow believers (Mat. 22:39; Rom. 12:9, 10; 1 Peter 4:8), what exactly am I supposed to be hoping for?
In the Bible, the Hebrew word that is often translated "wait" can also mean "hope." For example, in Isaiah 40:31, the KJV translation says "they that wait upon the Lord…," whereas the NIV translation says "those who hope in the Lord."
To wait for God is to hope in Him (Ps. 39:7), and the longer we wait, the more we hope and are strengthened by the Holy Spirit:
...we rejoice in our sufferings, knowing that suffering produces endurance, and endurance produces character, and character produces hope, and hope does not put us to shame, because God's love has been poured into our hearts through the Holy Spirit who has been given to us. -Romans 5:3-5 (ESV)
When we wait we figure out what the source of our hope is. Are we waiting for that fairy tale prince to finally call? Or for the day when God will one day bring a spouse, with all our dreams of happiness and fulfillment hinging on the possibility of a future relationship? Our hope is in that future spouse (who may or may not even exist!).
It is better to trust in the Lord than to put confidence in man. -Psalm 118:8
The Lord is good to those who wait for Him, to the soul who seeks Him. It is good that one should hope and wait quietly for the salvation of the Lord. -Lamentations 3:25-26
When God makes us wait it is often His way of making Himself the source of our hope. When our hope is in anything apart from Jesus, we elevate that thing or person to the place of a god in our lives, looking to it for ultimate fulfillment, security, meaning, or whatever it may be. For this reason, sometimes the most loving thing God can do is make us wait. Waiting is a way of letting go of control of the situation and trusting in the One who is in control. It means giving our entire lives over to God, allowing Him to carry out His plan in His timing and bring about the work He wants to accomplish in our lives.
For I know the thoughts that I think toward you, says the Lord, thoughts of peace and not of evil, to give you a future and a hope. Then you will call upon Me and go and pray to Me, and I will listen to you. And you will seek Me and find Me, when you search for Me with all your heart. -Jeremiah 29:11-13
So what does it mean when that totally perfect guy doesn't call? It's a chance to re-orient your heart. It's an opportunity to hand your hopes and dreams over to the One who knows you best, who created you with a purpose in mind, who has not forgotten you and who desires you to know Him and to fill your heart and soul with Him. Because ultimately, He is the only one who can truly satisfy your longing heart. Wait on the Lord; be of good courage, and He shall strengthen your heart; wait, on the Lord! (Ps. 27:14).
Now may the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace in believing, that you may abound in hope by the power of the Holy Spirit. -Romans 15:13