Longing. We all feel it.
I think it is one of the most universal human experiences.
Whether you are longing for a home cooked meal, or longing to be married, we all know the ache.
We are all simply looking for something to make us feel complete or whole.
I’ve seen it so much in this holiday season. From people literally running over each other for good deals, to being heartbroken over being alone at another holiday party, to aching for children to love and spoil at Christmas; we are all aching and broken for more during this season.
Isn’t that the story of humanity from the beginning?
Take Adam and Eve, Eve was tempted by the thought of being like God and she took the bate. She wanted more and that led to separation from the one thing that she didn’t know she needed most.
Look at the Israelites, they were never satisfied. There was never enough provision. God showed Himself to them over and over again, and they always asked for more: more manna, more water, more miracles, more provision. Little did they know, they were actually aching for a Savior. Someone who would come and would be the fulfillment of all the aching that they had.
They were longing for Christ.
I believe that until Christ comes again and we are glorified with Him, we will all have this longing inside of our souls. Because ultimately, we are all longing for things to be made right. We are longing for the new heaven and new earth, where we will be perfect and in perfect unity with the one who we were all made for. We were made for love and God is love.
So where does this leave us? We are still in this middle ground. We live in the already but not yet. We have the Word, we have been given the greatest gift of Christ and inside of us we have the power of the Holy Spirit. So why do we still ache? What do we do with these longings?
I believe the answer is simple, but so hard.
I believe that the answer is to embrace these longings and give them to the Lord. Tell Him. He wants to know your heart.
We cannot ignore them, because they won’t just go away, and we can’t make an idol of them because that won’t satisfy.
This is so hard to do. It is so hard to not take control and manipulate what we want. On the other hand, it can be so hard to say them out loud for fear of getting disappointed or not getting what we want.
I know all sides of this ache. I wrote in my journal this morning:
“God, I don’t want my faith and trust in you to be dependent on whether you give me what I want. Because I know myself, as soon as you give me this thing, I will be wanting something else. I have to believe that you are good to me always. I have to believe that what the Bible says about you is true. I have to believe that you know me and this is the kindest thing for me right now. Even when I do not see. ”
We have to be okay living in the unknown. We have to choose to believe God in the tension of the pain & hope, the sorrow & joy, the disappointment & rejoicing and the fear & trust.
This is so much easier said than done.
Gratitude is another piece of this puzzle. Remembering what He has done in the past and saying that back to Him. You wouldn’t believe how quickly gratitude will change your heart.
And finally, this happens in the context of honest community with others and intimacy with God.
As you begin to embrace the tensions and give thanks for what you do not see, may you know that God is with you. That He is rejoicing over you. That He is holding you. That He is your Prince of Peace and He has come to be with you as you go.