My friends are smart. When I recently posed the question, “What’s one word for feeling lied to?” they unanimously responded, “deceived.” They must press shift and F7 to look up words when typing. Defined as “to mislead or to delude,” deception speaks not only about the tumult of my heart but also my honest feelings toward God.
You see, there was a guy—gentlemen, keep reading, there will be no male-bashing to follow, I promise. At 27 and with no dating experience to speak of, I started a relationship with a great Christian guy. Thoughtful, funny and a servant, he pursued me whole-heartedly for four months. My heart began to grow in trust and vulnerability, while I daily marveled at the reality that it was finally my turn, that someone wanted me. The new conversations I had with married friends thrilled me to the bottom of my toes. It was like I was granted access to an exclusive club whose door had previously been blocked with a “No Singles” sign. I started to hope, to daydream, to see the possibility of a future with someone in blazing technicolor instead of the dull gray of imagining. It was great.
And then … nothing. No great arguments, no disagreements over who needed to visit whom (ahh, the joys of the LDR— long distance relationship), just nothing. Literally. After months of daily conversations, he started drifting. Knowing he was busy, I continued in patience and waiting, desiring him to lead and pursue. A whole week went by (eons to my heart), but a post-work phone call assured me that in the midst of illness his lack of communication was understandable. He told me it wasn’t me and that things would return to “normal” soon. He would always be honest and tell me if something was wrong.
A month later, I held onto Romans 8:28, “And we know that in all things God works for the good of those who love him, who have been called according to his purpose” (TNIV), with a fragile and bruised heart. I never heard from him again. A phone call and email went unanswered. After weeks of waiting I finally called uncle to the pain of hoping and, thanks to distance, emailed him that I was following his leading of uninterest and ending it. Only recently, through the impersonal realm of Myspace, have I discovered that he had started dating someone else while passively ignoring me.
There are a lot of emotions that flooded my mind after this, but “deceived” consistently comes to the front. I was lied to and probably more times than I’ll ever know. I hurt, ache and want a lobotomy to stop hearing his words of pursuit and desire, to stop places and songs from reminding me of the joy that wasn’t meant to be. Worst of all, I look at my Father, who I long to be comforted and protected by, and lift up bleary eyes that realize He knew this would happen but still called me to be open, vulnerable and finally bruised. I feel like the Lord deceived me, like an arbitrary spitefulness has repaid my years of faith, trust and purity with showing me what I’m not allowed.
The good news is that I loathe feeling this way because in the deeper recesses of my heart, where my busy life rarely allows me to go, I realize that this is not truth. Yes, I can see the immediate results, such as God’s protection from this man and His need to refocus my hope on Him instead of a wedding ring. More so than these, I see the reality of who He is. A refuge (Ps 46:1), a fortress (Ps 62:2), a protector (Ps 91:14), good (Nahum 7:1), righteous (Ps 11:7), worthy to be glorified (Rev 4:11), a sanctuary (Ezekiel 11:16). He is my avenger for this pain. His loving arms have given me friends, family and a church (aptly called Sanctuary). Even more bittersweet, He is a God who continues to give me hope.
The feeling of deceit is still lingering on the surface of my heart, but deeper still is a truth that I cannot get enough of, that I force into my mind when memories arise and that I affirm with tears and joy— God, Himself. I didn’t even need a thesaurus to come up with that one.