En Passant

I feel it. It hangs around like an extrovert that just won’t shut up or take a hint. It creeps along my spine, pauses to play with my stomach, then does another haunting lap on my vertebrae. It makes my heart moan, not a shriek of pain or a cry of sadness, but a groan to be satiated. It infuses me with an intense desire to pace, to wear away the floor till I fall through. But I can only sit.

It unleashes a torrent of adrenaline. This is not a natural reaction, but a conditioned response. My senses are heightened. Alert, I strain to look for things I can see, listen for things I can’t hear, sniff for things I can’t smell, reach for things I can’t touch. I’m on pins and needles, waiting... waiting... waiting... It’s that old familiar feeling with whom I truly do have a love/hate relationship. It’s the metaphorical horn, ringing out with a clarion call: “Awake, suit up, lock ’n load, you’ve got a fight on your hands.”

Sometimes it’s followed by a knock on the door. Sometimes it’s a phone call, or an email, or a Facebook status, or a random conversation. It can reveal itself as a word, or a look, or a sigh, or a tear. Maybe it’s someone I know, someone I don’t, or someone I thought I did. It could have emotional roots, or psychological roots, or even demonic roots, but it’s always spiritual. It can lead to a thoughtful dialogue on a garden bench, a candid conversation at Starbucks, a heart-to-heart kneeling on a dorm room floor, or a frantic text fest. And regardless of whatever I perceive the outcome to be, it’s utterly exhausting. War always is, after all.

But, on nights like tonight, sometimes nothing noticeable happens. So I do what I can: I pray. I pray for family, friends, futures; cities, countries, cultures; laymen, leaders, life-change. Anything and everything that crosses my mind, great or small. It still remains, though, so I continue to wait. It takes all the patience I can muster. Like a soldier geared up on the flight line waiting for the go-code, I yearn for my Commander to pull the trigger.

Maybe He will. Maybe He won’t.

So I continue to wait. Maybe it will pass after a few minutes, or hours, or days. Maybe there will be an explanation forthcoming later, maybe not. Maybe it just wants to be expressed through these words. I don’t know. What I do know, however, is that waiting is the hardest part. It’s tempting to try to solve it myself, to conjure up man-made solutions to problems of my own imagining. It’s tempting to try to drown it out, to distract myself with a book, or a movie, or a video game. But patience is the only proper course of action. I refuse to tuck it away in the recesses of my heart and mind. I refuse to ignore it. Come what may, I will wait on the Lord.

Despite the difficulties it causes, it’s worth it. I wouldn’t trade it for the world. It’s what gives all the drab vicissitudes of my life meaning. It’s what I was made for; it is my purpose. As much as part of me might want to call it a curse, it is nonetheless my gift. It thins the veil, giving me a greater sense of the ripples and currents that flow all about us, just beneath the surface of everything we know and experience empirically. It gives direction and clarity to my thoughts in times of confusion. In the moments of need it prompts me with thoughts, words, and actions that I could never conjure up on my own.

It is discernment.

Right now I sense that God is making a move. Maybe it involves me. Maybe not. How should I know? I’m just one of the pieces on the board, and for all I know I’m just a lowly pawn. But in the hands of a Grandmaster, even a pawn can be a game-changer. So even though I feel all the pieces moving around me, I’ll wait till He calls my number. He’s the Grandmaster, after all. So I wait...

Did I mention waiting is the hard part?

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