I have been curating stories for a blog project called, “Found Wanting." This series will end in several weeks, and I am thankful for each person who has submitted a guest post. If you've only now arrived here, I hope you'll catch up on the stories below. During Jesus’ earthly ministry, it was not uncommon for him to approach the sick and sin-sick with this question: “What do you want?” In John 5, he speaks with a man lying next to the healing waters of Bethesda, a man who has been an invalid for 38 years.
“When Jesus saw him lying there and knew that he had already been there a long time, he said to him, ‘Do you want to be healed?’"
The man seizes an excuse. “I have no one to put me into the pool when the water is stirred up.”
Was it too much for this man to hope for healing?
What is too great a risk to invite the responsibility for walking again?
There can be fear in desire: fear that we will want what God will always refuse to give; fear that we will not want whatever God, in his sovereignty, chooses to give.
Ultimately, we are profoundly afraid of ceding into the hands of God our trust.
I’m grateful for those willing to share their stories of desire here. I'm neither applauding nor condemning their stories: rather, I am amplifying their desires - and reminding each of us that to be human is to want. In my book, Teach Us to Want, I write, “Desire takes shape in the particularities of our lives. We cannot excerpt desire from the anthology of our stories. Our desires say something about us – who we have been, who we are and who we are becoming. They tell a part of the story that God is telling through us, even the beautiful and complicated story of being human and becoming holy.”
To catch up on the series, read these featured stories: Amy Chaney, "I didn't want to be a coach's wife." Beth Bruno, "I've wanted beauty." Wendy Stringer, "I didn't want to move to suburbia." Steve Burks, "I've wanted to produce entertainment." Faydra Stratton, "I didn't want a child with Fragile X." Brook Seekins, "I never wanted to be a missionary in Africa." Sarah Van Beveren, "I have always wanted to be strong." Holly Pennington, "I didn't want to find out what I wanted." Larry Shallenberger, "I wanted to know what I wanted." Hannah Anderson, "I didn't want - because I couldn't afford to." Megan Hill, "I want your blessing." Bronwyn Lea, "I wanted a boyfriend, college scholarships, permission to sleep over at the popular kid's house." Jennifer Tatum, "I've wanted to be a woman of faith, but . . ." Sarah Torna Roberts, "I didn't want to be broken." Suanne Camfield, "I want a bigger house." Courtney Reissig, "I wanted a baby." Cara Meredith, "I've wanted it all." Anonymous, "I want to not want marriage anymore." Deborah Kurtz, "I wanted a husband." Ben Jolliffe, "I wanted nothing." Charity Singleton Craig, "I wanted to get married." Hannah Vanderpool, "I didn't want to stay in America." Dorothy Greco, "I don't want to doubt."
Today, Natasha Sistrunk Robinson shares her story of desire.
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I wanted security. I don’t know if the conclusion that every woman wants this same thing is in order, and I don’t know when this desire crosses from a simple and honest need to an idol and desperate cry. I just understand in the very core of my being what it is like to have a divorced mother do her best to care for her two daughters on her own. I have welcomed large tin jars of peanut butter and cereal purchased with food stamps. I understand the sense of anxiety of begging the car to start every morning, and wondering what the humiliation would be like if it didn’t.
Then my dad came to marry her and father us, and he was a hard worker in a hard profession. In spite of his hard work, he didn’t always get paid on time. We knew what it was like to live in the suburbs in comfort with the willingness and fortitude to carry on when the payments did not come on time. There was calls from bill collectors and bounced checks. No one said a word but I knew there was a financial struggle.
So when I left home for college, I made a simple commitment to myself. My parents would no longer have to take care of me. They did all they could to give us their best, and with two other children now remaining in their home, I wanted to relieve them of any unnecessary burden. I wanted security.
I wanted security, and I thought it would come from hard work, minimizing or managing debt, getting a good job, paying bills on time, having a great credit score, and making investments. Once upon a time, I did all of those things. I’ve also lost money and a home, have transitioned from great jobs, been worried about the ability to pay bills, minimized investments, loss a lot of savings, and now have a wrecked credit score. Not so financially secure now.
In all of my longing and wanting, I am reminded that, “I know what it is to be in need, and I know what it is to have plenty (Phil 4:12a).” My only hope is to learn, like Paul, the secret of being content in any and every situation. My desire and idol has been turned into thanksgiving, for I have always been well fed and never hungry. God has always sheltered me and filled my thirsting soul, even when my flesh was striving, and selfish, and weak.
I have learned that my security cannot be in a job or income, but I continuously must put my trust in Christ, for He alone cares for me. My longing, whether in surplus or when there seems to be a drought is to remember the One who keeps me yesterday, today, and forever, and to be thankful.
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