Living with longing


I have always felt a failure as a Christian.  I have been surrounded by good people who seem to be in a permanent state of Holy Spirit ecstasy and enduring intimacy with the Lord Jesus.  This is not my experience and has led me to question whether after 22 years of following Christ and a lifetime of knowing Him, my salvation is real.  I believe the Bible is true when it tells me God loves me but to be honest I have felt only the most fleeting of assurances that this love is actually for me.  And yet I crave it with every fibre of my being.  We all do.  Tracey Emin says it in neon lights, “You forgot to kiss my soul”.  It is the hunger for an unshakeable knowing at the core of our personhood that the truth of who we are is loved.  Not just that, but the affirmation that we are worthy of such love.  It enables us to reveal the beauty we keep hidden so that it might enrich the lives of others.   Jesus said, “Seek first His kingdom and His righteousness, and all these things will be given to you as well” (Matt 6 v.33).  The merest snatches of intimacy keeps us wanting more, keeps us searching, keep us knocking at the door of His heart.  Perhaps I should learn to accept the longing. 

In Antoine de Saint-Exupery’s collected saying and thoughts, Citadelle, he said, “If you want to build a ship, don’t summon people to buy wood, prepare tools, distribute jobs and organise the work; teach people the yearning for the wide, boundless ocean.”  The desire for more, better, deeper can be used by God to motivate us to see more of His kingdom come and not just for our own gratification.  While precious moments where God’s mercy and goodness overwhelm us in worship are to be cherished and celebrated, what about finding love and fulfilment in God through the mundane?  On Saturday I massaged the hands of a 94 year-old woman at a church fun day.  She was so blessed and delighted by this simple act that I felt God’s pleasure. There was genuine satisfaction in bringing His kingdom near and I also felt loved and valued when two people on different occasions during the day commended me for my gentle spirit.  So rather than berating myself for not being good enough or getting frustrated with God for His hidden-ness, I am resolved to look harder for Him in the unexpected places of my daily life and accept that living with longing is part of the package of being His.

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