I mentioned in a previous post that I read through the vulnerable memoir of New Testament scholar Wesley Hill and finally wrapped it up a couple of weeks ago. Hill’s Washed and Waiting: Reflection on Christian Faithfulness and Homosexuality is hauntingly honest and open about the tension between faith and life.
In his book, Hill confronts his sexual desires and his desire to follow Jesus, even when those two seem to be at odds. What I found to be so refreshing was Hill’s aim to place his own desires in front of God’s. He aimed at bringing the whole of his life under the Lordship of Jesus.
While I do not understand what it would be like to be in his shoes, I do appreciate his perspective on the journey of bearing certain unmet desires in this life. And the thing is this: no matter how perfect one’s life is on the outside, there is always something missing underneath the façade. There is always something that does not met all of our desires.
In the stillness of the evening or in the stirring of the morning, we are met with the unending call of our unrequited desires: wealth, security, companionship, love, sex, children, to be understood, and self confidence. For Hill, it is the unmet desire for marital intimacy that he will not taste. For me, it has been self-confidence and insecurities. What unmet desire or unfulfilled need has not been filled for you?
Maybe it’s too painful to say out loud.
I would love to say that Jesus is the answer, but it’s too simplistic. After all, Paul had a thorn in his side for years and it was never removed, even after a lot of prayer. This metaphorical thorn stayed with him throughout his ministry, and it very well could stay for a majority of our lives too. Even Moses himself longed to enter the Promised Land, but he never set foot on the soil of Canaan. Sometimes desires will be unmet this side of glory.
One of the beauties of Scripture is that we are assured that our desires will be met one day. Our desires will be fulfilled on the other side, as we physically look at the face of God and thrive. For now, we wait with unrequited desires and trust that Jesus will bear our burden as we journey through this life. For now we wait, because his grace will sustain us through the desert.