I’m hungry. Being a foodie I’m always looking for new recipes, new challenges and experiments. If you know me at all, you are fully aware of my current Pintrest obsession. (It’s a problem…maybe) Yet food never really satisfies. Though I often stumble upon amazing concoctions (even a blind squirrel finds an acorn now and then as my dad says) it’s never quite as good as it could be (I’m like a Hobbit, Second Breakfast is a daily occurrence).
I’m busy. As an extrovert, I crave company and love being social. A day without people would not be a good day in my book. Last year I got two strains of the flu and was more or less quarantined at home in Fulshear at my parent’s house. They had good friends over to visit and I couldn’t go down to see them Two of them came up and risked hugs anyway, something I very much appreciated, but I couldn’t fellowship with them, couldn’t join the conversation, could only hear their enjoyment of one another’s company from afar. It was miserable. Yet, I find even my greatest friendships can often fall short. Among others I still sometimes feel lonely, on the outside, and as usual, not quite satisfied.
I love my local church, playing in the band, enjoying my small group, but it has it’s flaws (if I were to find a perfect church my very presence would ruin it by my sin).
I love my city, but the driver’s are nuts.
I’m thankful for my job but don’t always enjoy it.
I love my family but sometimes they drive me crazy.
This, my friends, is a blessing. The things of this world always leave me wanting more, wanting better. I’m often disappointed, often let down, by my own failures, the failures of others, and the failure of this world in general to fill up the empty space in my chest. Why is this a blessing? Why do I think the slight suffocation of disillusionment is the most glorious feeling I can experience? Because like the pain of an injury, this reveals to me a problem, a need, a reality that is vital for me to know.
There is a disease called congenital analgesia. People suffering from this cannot feel physical pain at all. While some of us may often wish this amidst an injury, this disease is incredibly dangerous. Why? Because pain reveals to us that something is wrong, that we may need to seek help.
"If I find in myself a desire which no experience in this world can satisfy, the most probable explanation is that I was made for another world."
The deprivation and pain of this life, the hole in the center of our very being serves as a warning to us, a signal that this world will never satisfy. As Pascal put it, “There is a god-shaped vacuum in the heart of every man, and only God can fill it.”
And yet we as believers, filled with the Holy Spirit of God, continue to feel deprivation, lack, tragedy. We wonder why. I wonder why. I wrestle with guilt. I should be joyful, feel fulfilled, and happy all the time! I question God, question my own salvation, question what I know to be true.
But then I’m reminded; I am not yet in glory. It’s the tension of the already but not yet. I have been made alive, yet I continue to struggle with the after effects of sin, I have been adopted, yet sometimes I act like an orphan.
“And not only this, but also we ourselves, having the first fruits of the Spirit, even we ourselves groan within ourselves, waiting eagerly for our adoption as sons, the redemption of our body.” Romans 8:23
Still, the continued dissatisfaction, I believe, is also a blessing. For amidst joy we do not cling to prayer as much, we do not remember our own frailty, we worship the world and our friends and family. We continue to long because, even though we have been brought from death to life, we are not yet fully redeemed.
So how do we live in the longing? I think Packer said it best: "Think against your feelings; argue yourself out of the gloom they have spread; unmask the unbelief they have nourished; take yourself in hand, talk to yourself, make yourself look up from your problems to the God of the gospel; let evangelical thinking correct emotional thinking." Knowing God
Dear friends, speak truth to your feelings, and pray with me that when we long, we will realize it is a longing to be with our Heavenly Father.