Longing

HorizonWe aspire—so many directions to go, so many people to become, so many careers to pursue, so many places to travel.  We hunger for fulfillment.  We look behind us, sorrowful at the loss of the way things used to be, while also clinging to a driving hope that the future will hold what is better.  Either way, we are discontent in the circumstances of today.  Solomon laments the meaningless of life and its pursuits in Ecclesiastes.  Nothing in this world satisfies our longing.  It pushes humankind to great lengths of earthly achievement or terrible woe.  In the end, we die without realizing the “aha” moment that validates our life.

On the surface, this is a rather sobering and discouraging lot to swallow.  What’s the point of even living this life?  Solomon’s answer? “Fear God and keep his commandments, for this is the duty of all mankind.” (Eccl. 12:13) He elaborates on this further in Proverbs, “The fear of the Lord leads to life, and whoever has it rests satisfied.” (Pr. 19:23) Fear of the Lord—a right regard for who God is and who we are—brings us to the place of satisfaction.

In John 4:14, Jesus says, “Whoever drinks of the water that I will give him will never be thirsty again. The water that I will give him will become in him a spring of water welling up to eternal life.”  Thirst, the most recognized longing in humans, is the analogy for our souls’ yearning.  Jesus promises to satisfy it wholly and thoroughly in himself.  The Psalmist prays, “O God, You are my God; I shall seek You earnestly; My soul thirsts for You, my flesh yearns for You, In a dry and weary land where there is no water. Thus I have seen You in the sanctuary, To see Your power and Your glory. Because Your lovingkindness is better than life, My lips will praise You. So I will bless You as long as I live; I will lift up my hands in Your name. My soul is satisfied as with marrow and fatness, And my mouth offers praises with joyful lips.” (Ps. 63:1-5) The same request follows in Ps. 90:14:

“Satisfy us in the morning with your steadfast love, that we may rejoice and be glad all our days.”

Clearly there is hope for satisfaction in this life.  It is found in the love of Jesus and our abiding life in his.  While we still hunger in this world, we can taste that promised eternal satiation with Jesus even now.  Think about the swell of wonder you felt at the last baptism you witnessed or the tears that struck when you led a friend to Christ.  Remember the inexplicable peace that wrapped around you in that troubling time, testifying to God as its source.  We must fight the worldviews that surround us in our culture.  They lie that our fulfillment can be found in that better body, that better job, that better location or house or car or family.  Solomon smacks those lies in the face. None of it will satisfy.  Those days when you feel stuck in the rut—feeling purposeless and hopeless—remember there is eternity with Jesus.  When that comes, our hunger will be fully filled; our thirst will be no more.  Savor your time with Jesus today, for though he promises to fill our thirst, in this life we must drink of him daily.

“How sweet are your words to my taste, sweeter than honey to my mouth!” – Ps.119:103

 

May this be our prayer:

“As the deer panteth for the water,
So my soul longeth after Thee;
You alone are my heart’s desire,
And I long to worship Thee

You alone are my strength,my shield;
To You alone may my spirit yield;
You alone are my heart’s desire,
And I long to worship Thee

You’re my friend and You are my brother,
Even though You are a king
I love You more than any other,
So much more than anything

I want You more than gold or silver;
Only You can satisfy;
You alone are the real joy giver,
And the apple of my eye”

by Martin J. Nystrom

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