If thou lift up thy tool upon it, thou hast polluted it. —Exodus 20:25.
GOD'S altar was to be built of unhewn stones, that no trace of human skill or labour might be seen upon it. Human wisdom delights to trim and arrange [things] into [something] more artificial and more congenial with the depraved tastes of fallen nature; instead, however, of improving, carnal wisdom pollutes it, until it becomes [something else], and not the truth of God at all...The Lord alone must be exalted in the work... Trembling sinner, away with thy tools, and fall upon thy knees in humble supplication; ...and rest in Him alone. (Spurgeon a la Tina)
It is nearly inconcievable to man that anything can happen without his help...or outside of his ability to comprehend how it came into being. This difficulty rises in proportion to the degree in which is moves closer to our personal lives and reaches levels of utter insanity when it involves our hearts.
Several months ago, I met a very nice, godly man. The Lord has allowed us to develop a bit of a friendship and it has been a source of encouragement and growth...and frustration, for me. I am fully aware that the frustration is only the result of my impatient hopes and expectations. I submit to this and submit it to the Lord. For his part, this man has been all I could ask for in a friend of the opposite sex. He has been godly and careful with my heart - never flirting or leading me on. Despite this, and my efforts to guard my heart and take thoughts captive, my interest has increased with every bit of contact. This, along with the subject matter of our conversations, has been a source of stretching and sanctification. It has been difficult, gut-wrenching at times...but I am thankful.
My frustration is nearly equaled, if not rivaled, by that of some of my friends. Often I am confused as to who they are more frustrated with...me or my friend. Many have asked for contact info and threatened to say what I won't and find out once and for all what the deal is. Others have become upset with me because I won't just tell him how I feel. Still other ones, who are very sweet and naive, tell me I am the most patient person they know because I refuse to "spill the beans" and am very careful not to even drop a hint.
The truth is, I am anything but patient. I simply have no other alternative.
In today's world, if you want something you go get it. If you want something done right, you do it yourself. Girls do the asking and men hang back and wait to be pursued. It's everywhere. I saw a movie the other day...awful movie...but I was struck by the female lead. She was very sweet, unassuming and kind. And it didn't occur to me until the very end that she had been in pursuit the whole movie. It was done so gently, so quiety, so "innocently" that it didn't even hit me until the end that SHE WAS THE MAN.
She approached him at a party, she followed up with him after, innocently bringing him a housewarming gift. No real problem in and of it's self. A friend invited her to another function and she flirted with him there. Now things really get going. She then approached him to ask for advice about a business matter and encouraged him to ask her to coffee. In the end, she propositioned him. The guy was clueless throughout the whole thing, seemingly uninterested in making any effort to pursue this woman at all, despite his attraction. He seemed to be taken by surprise each time she showed up, smiling sweetly, whispering suggestions in his ear, coyly inviting herself into his bedroom.
It was insane.
It is not reflective of how the Lord designed it to be.
It was the exact opposite of what I want.
What do I want? I want a man to be a man. I want him to be cautious and prayerful and intentional. I want him to exemplify from beginning to end that HE is meant to be the leader. I want to know that he is decisive and discerning and can be trusted with my heart and my walk. I want a man that knows he was also created to need a helper, but also knows that regardless of his particular weakness or sin, he is called to be the initiator, the pursuer, the leader. More importantly, I don't just want a man that is available or interested or attainable...I want the man God has kept me for, and kept for me. Since I am neither God nor a prophet, I have to submit that hope to Him and trust Him to carry it out.
The only way to ensure that I get that is to suffer this altar to be built with unhewn stones...untouched by my skill at getting my own way. Then and only then can I see it complete and worship knowing God alone brought it to pass and it was truly His will for my life.
That does not mean that I am not allowed to have any part in the process. Stones must be quarried and carried and placed. But even that requires direction. There is a plan that was laid out long ago...a plan I have yet to see in its entirety. I must trust that the One giving me the direction is sure of the plan He designed and quarry and carry and place...or not...as directed and ONLY as directed.
The result will, I pray, be something that will give glory to God alone. Something that will display His sovereignty and goodness. Something that will allow me to walk with the Lord in a way that I cannot now. And, as I wait, He makes me strong...as I long, He draws me to His arms...fits me for what will come...and satisfies me today.