I like to hold secrets, good secrets, the kind that make eyes kind and lips turn up into smiles, the kind that can’t stay hidden because they’re too good not to share. Sometimes, you get a secret like that, and it is salty from tears and sweet from hope and you can’t help but savor it a bit before you pass it on.
Yesterday, I got to taste a secret like that.
“They called, Baby!” he said when I got home, “and I’m in!”
“You are? Really?” I grabbed my husband around the neck and held him close because I almost couldn’t believe it. It was over. The months of waiting, the year without a job, the praying and hearing and second-guessing–it was all over.
The Army had approved Jeff’s application to Active Duty. He would be a full-time chaplain after all.
Relief and sadness and joy swirled around all at once as we stood in the living room, just the two of us, holding that secret between us. I looked in his eyes and he looked every bit like a man who had seen God come through when there was no plan B, no back door, no detour. Not really. There were leads and there guesses but there was no surety. There was just this, this thing we half-felt called to do and the shadow-fear that we might have heard it wrong.
We might have heard it wrong.
That’s the kind of thing that keeps me up at night, that keeps me trembling at the walls of Jericho, facing a wall thicker than my resolve. What if we heard it wrong?
It is a nagging doubt that wakes me from a restless sleep and makes me lay out fleeces in the damp of the night because my confidence doesn’t stretch our far enough to cover up the dust. And I tremble when I should be sleeping while the dew falls thick all around, and I know it should quench my doubt.
But it doesn’t.
Because I realize, with holy dread, that the voice of God is not enough. I want to see His hand. I want to wrestle around a bit, flesh to flesh, so that when the night finally slips into morning at least I know I had something more than just a voice in my head. I want to know I saw His hand.
Yesterday, we saw His hand, and we knew, finally, that this calling was more than just a voice inside our heads. All the doors were opened that once had been closed and suddenly, the questions dissolved and the answers stood out bright like day.
But I stood in the hallway for just a bit, holding that secret and that little glimpse of His hand. I know, now, where to walk, and it feels altogether lovely to know I am not running ahead or lagging behind. I am where I should be.
I kick my feet against the fleece on the ground, and stare at it, shame-faced for having put it out there to begin with. Because it is dripping with glory and drenched in grace, and I should have known better. I should have listened to His voice.
But it is just like God to say things twice, or three times because He knows children have troubling hearing. It is just like God to put signs in the desert and mess with fleeces when His words should be enough. It is just like God to show me His hand by grasping mine.
It is the kind of thing I want to hold to myself for just a bit, like a secret, and remember when the sun shines hot over the promised land and I begin to wish I was back where I started. I want to remember this unmistakable glimpse of God’s hand. This is where He is leading us, and this is where we gladly go.