My first real crush lasted roughly six years. I was in love with the gregarious, musical, squeaky-clean and gorgeous best friend of my older brother. He was a golden child (and I’m not just talking about his perfectly highlighted–all natural–sandy blond hair or his tanned face). Everyone wanted to be around this guy and be liked by him. I desperately wanted to be loved by him in that way you can only understand if you’ve been fruitlessly crushing on someone during the melodramatic 9- to 15-year-old years. I spent so much time casually hovering when he would come over to hang out with my brother, just waiting to drop a “Hey, I just made cookies, do you guys want some?” or “Oh, you two are talking about Star Wars? I love Star Wars!” Crushes will do that to you: Turn you into a cookie-making, apron-wearing ultra-woman with sudden and surprising male interests. Star Wars? Ninja Turtles? Transformers? Why yes! I love them all! Have a cookie!
I don’t want to even remember all the time I spent waiting for the chance to be nice to this guy. Waiting to say something sweet or clever, waiting for some way to show him I cared.
Did it work? No, thank God. Years later, when I was well over my crush on him, we actually became good friends. One night, he called to tell me about the girl he would eventually marry. During that far-reaching conversation, he confessed he thought he and I might have become something some day, but then decided against pursuing it (and again I say, thank God). I took the opportunity to confess to him how he broke my pre-teen heart again and again. Do you know what he said? “Oh Joanna. I never even noticed you! Hahahahaha.” My worst fears confirmed! But in the best possible way.
Why am I telling this story? Because aside from wanting to embarrass myself publicly, my constant attitude of looking out for chances to impress him back in the days of the crush is the closest thing I can think of to compare to what this verse means:
Therefore the Lord waits to be gracious to you, and therefore he exalts himself to show mercy to you. For the Lord is a God of justice; blessed are those who wait for him. For a people shall dwell in Zion, in Jersalem; you shall weep no more. He will surely be gracious to you at the sound of your cry. As soon as he hears it, he answers you. (Isaiah 30: 18-19)
What’s that? Did you say the God of the Universe is just waiting to be gracious to me? He’s combing through every second of my day, every circumstance in my life, every situation I get myself into for the chance (though we know it’s not chance) to show me mercy? As soon as he hears my cry, he’ll answer it? You just blew my mind.
And that’s so much cooler than waiting to offer me a cookie.