If you’ve walked through a long season of waiting, you are probably familiar with “almosts.” You almostfound “The one.” Your child almost had a breakthrough. You almost went into remission.
Here’s the thing about almosts: They feel good. After all, we’ve waited to feel something (besides discouragement) for so long. So we hold on to the buzzing feeling of possibility, the hope that right around the corner, our “almost” could turn into a sure thing. We allow our minds to dream and our hearts to grow attached. Almosts carry our heart sky-high when we hold tight to a specific outcome. If that outcome doesn’t pan out, our heart drops from that sky-high place. After enough “almosts,” we learn to protect our heart from skydiving because it wasn’t made for that.
“Almosts” become a teacher, helping us discover the art of hoping, teaching us to guard our hearts and put our hope in the right source. We don’t want to build walls around our heart, but we do learn to guard it. Proverbs 4:23 tells us, “Above all else, guard your heart, for it is the wellspring of life.”
It’s not that we don’t get excited or don’t “get our hopes up,” but we learn to proceed without tying our soul’s worth to the outcome. We keep a restful anticipation, not an anxious anticipation. That’s the goal anyway. I’m getting better at this, but I don’t always get it right. Hope is essential in the journey, but where our hope resides is key. “Now, Lord, what do I hope for? My hope remains in you.” Psalm 39:7
In Mark, chapter 8:22-26, Jesus travels to Bethsaida and meets a blind man. He takes the blind man by the hand and leads him out of the village, away from the crowd. After placing a spit and mud mixture on the man’s eyes, Jesus asks the man if he sees anything. The man looks up and says, “I see men, but they look like trees, walking.” Then Jesus laid his hands on his eyes again, and his sight was restored. For the first time in his life, the man saw everything clearly.
For a moment—we don’t know how long exactly—the man “almost” has his sight, but not fully. I wonder how he felt during his “almost.” Perhaps a mixture of excitement and fear, hope and possibility, a rush of emotions- and maybe a bit of disappointment, wondering if the full miracle would ever come.
The blind man let Jesus touch him once more. Jesus didn’t want the man to settle for blurry vision when He intended to bring him full clarity. What makes me pause and scratch my head is that the miracle didn’t happen instantly; it didn’t come without an “almost.” Stories like this show us the heart of our Heavenly Father, who demonstrates that some breakthroughs don’t come instantly, they may come little by little, yard by yard.
What if we saw our “almost” as an opportunity for us to let Jesus touch us one more time? What if instead of pushing away our desires and Jesus because of fear of disappointment, we let Jesus come closer, trusting his timing and his process? Sure, our journey hasn’t been a straight line—that’s not such a bad thing. Maybe God knows the straight line will make us flatline. The process of God pulling us away is an opportunity to experience a connection with Jesus that makes any straight-lined path pale in comparison.
Lord, I give you my feelings of discouragement. Even though I wish my path was a straight line, I trust that you use every winding and troubled road for your glory. Help me to trust you and to trust your timing and your plan. Help me to surrender the outcome to you and to allow you to change me from the inside out. Amen.