Because we are Americans or because we are humans (I don't know), because we live, we want.
We come into the world wanting and we leave the world wanting too. Because this gnawing want exists, there accompanies a gnawing need for instant gratification and we who wear the name Christ-follows are not unscathed from this blight.
An email lands in my inbox last week and I let it sit there for seven days. I am thinking about it, but I am not answering it. I am practicing the Discipline of Wait, for both myself and for the sender of the email.
How can you say that practicing gratefulness will not lead us into a greater love for God? the sender asks. And the flesh in me wants to respond instantly that I didn't say that exactly. But I understand the questioner is not asking to catch me in a false theology, but because they genuinely want to love God and they've been taught that disciplining themselves will lead to feeling it.
The truth is, folks, that I don't know. The truth is that I know, for me, for my story, my propensity, my personality, and ultimately my theology (my study of God), disciplining myself into loving Him did not work. And if you push me, I will say that this is not uncommon.
But I think there is a deeper current here than just a desire to love the Lord and a nature that doesn't.
We see our theology through fallen and failing eyes, a dim glass Paul calls it. And I'm afraid that this dim glass has led to not only a very incorrect picture of God (and us), but also a dangerous one. This is the if/then picture: if I do this, then He will do this; if I say this, then He will give this; if I pray this way, worship this way, discipline my life this way, then He will reward in this fashion.
And I don't want to completely disagree with that, after all, the Bible says that a man reaps what He sows. But preceding that, it says that the reason a man reaps what he sows is because God cannot be mocked.
This means that the end result is not about the sowing or the reaping, it is about God's character being true and His nature being sure--unmocked. So if a man sows faithfully, and yet reaps what the world (and the Church) sees as unfortunate or sorrowful, this does not mean that the man's sowing was fruitless.
Because God cannot be mocked.
And His plan cannot be mocked.
And the fruit borne of his work in our lives cannot be mocked.
Even if we never, ever, ever see the fruit on earth we want so desperately to see: He sees it. He knows it. He's aware of it. He's delighted in it.
Even if the only harvest is seeing Him, one day, face to face, that IS a harvest.