The truth is, I’m not good with ‘maybe’s. I love me a ‘yes’. I can handle a ‘not yet’, and I’ve even gotten better at receiving a ‘no.’ But is anyone else exhausted by the ‘maybe’?
When God gives a ‘yes’ we offer thanksgiving. When He hands us a ‘not-yet’ we navigate it with endurance and patience. When we hear the dreaded ‘no’, like Jesus we grieve, surrender and accept. But a ‘maybe’? What’s the right response to a ‘maybe’?
There are those who would counsel you to just treat a ‘maybe’ like a ‘no.’ I get that. A ‘maybe’ for tomorrow is functionally a ‘no’ for right now. Maybe today you will get that call you’ve been waiting for, maybe you will receive the news you’ve been praying for, but you haven’t yet, so isn’t it better to just live as if it’s a ‘no’? But when I watch this camp of my friends, I notice a trend. They really only follow that logic when the ‘maybe’ is something good. They’re happy to live as if the ‘maybe’ is a ‘yes’ for the things they fear. They live as if the unanswered prayers will never be answered, and they live as if the things they fear are inevitable. Which makes me wonder if this approach is really more about avoiding the horrific vulnerability of hope and protecting themselves from the emotional devastation of disappointment.
On the other side I’ve got my pals who live like the ‘maybe’s are ‘not-yets’. The things they hope for are just around the corner. They make plans for their lives as if the things they want are guaranteed. I get that too. I see the biblical exhortation to pray with expectation and persist in hope. But – this camp of folks has a trend too. They really only tend to live this way with the prayers they hope for. They do not live as if death is guaranteed. They do not operate as if failure is inevitable; as if loss is a ‘not-yet’ just lurking around the next bend.
Which makes me wonder if this approach might be sourced in the same thing. And really, there’s just really one camp – people who hate disappointment. And people who are building entire lives to avoid the vulnerability of hoping for something that’s not promised – either by not hoping at all, or by operating as if the things they hope for are guaranteed.
There has to be another way. A braver way. A way to receive the ‘maybe’ as it’s own kind of opportunity, a very unique chance to risk and ask and want without knowing how the story ends; a very unique chance to bank on the grace that’s waiting for you on the day the maybe turns into a yes, or turns into a no.
Working on this. Stay tuned. And if anyone out there has any skills with the ‘maybe’s of life- you just let me know.