Until Christ returns there will be desires and longings – so what do we do with them? We let them focus us, satisfy us, humble us, and bring us hope. (Miss the rest of the series? Read here)
“All these people were still living by faith when they died. They did not receive the things promised; they only saw them and welcomed them from a distance, admitting that they were foreigners and strangers on earth. People who say such things show that they are looking for a country of their own. If they had been thinking of the country they had left, they would have had opportunity to return. Instead, they were longing for a better country—a heavenly one. Therefore God is not ashamed to be called their God, for he has prepared a city for them.” Hebrews 11:13-16
Our existence on this earth is temporary – let us welcome the redemption of God, looking towards the city He is preparing for us. When our longing is focused on the eternal purposes, God is not ashamed to be called our God! What a statement!
There is one desire we have that never goes unsatisfied – the desire for the Lord, and that is a desire that need never go unfulfilled. He ALWAYS gives us Himself. In not giving us everything we want, or think we need, the Lord often shows us He is the only one that truly and completely satisfies. Ask anyone who is married more than two years, has won the lottery, or got their dream job – ask them if those things are still fully satisfying them – they don’t.The only thing worse than longing, is having what we want, and still being unhappy. <—- Tweet this
The Lord in His mercy allows us to long for good things, to teach us He alone fulfills, sustains, and brings us joy.Longing prepares us to handle what the Lord wants to bless us with. He won’t compete with His creation, and He knows that until our longings have been purified in surrender, we will worship His blessings and creation over Him. This is where idolatry is born.
He may withhold from us what we desire – but He gives us freely what will satisfy. <—- Tweet this.
Psalm 107:9 says: “For He satisfies the longing soul, and fills the hungry soul with goodness.”
One of the names of God is El Shaddai – the All Sufficient One. We serve a God who very name means Enough! He is enough for us.
“He is indeed Enough. He is not all we would ask for (if we were honest), but it is precisely when we do not have what we would ask for, and only then, that we can clearly perceive His all sufficiency.” Elisabeth Elliot – Keep a Quite Heart
Will you let Him be enough? He is longing for you.
Oh how we need Him! Longings are managed only before the throne. We are called to be living sacrifices, and the problem with living sacrifices is that we can crawl off the altar. The process of surrendering our desires to the Lord is humbling because it can be a daily, or moment-by-moment, choice to trust. Longings have a way of taking us to the end of our selves, the end of our endurance. At the end of us is the beginning of Him. In humility and repentance is strength for the journey, and the most beautiful promise of grace. (James 4:6)
If you’ve ever longed for something, you know how true this Proverb is: “Hope deferred makes the heart sick, but a longing fulfilled is a tree of life.” I’m not sure I’ve done well explaining the Lord’s goodness and compassion in our longings, but I’m not sure I can friends! It’s something you must experience – something intimate that happens just between you and Him, before His throne. We talked a lot about longings not fulfilled – but don’t give up hope!
He DOES fulfill our longings. Not always on our timetable, not always in the way we expect – but the Lord does fulfill and come through for us. He not a tame, pet, kitty cat we can control, but He is a good lion who fights for us, and a tender lover who mourns and rejoices over us.
Psalm 84 tells us that:
“For the Lord God is a sun and shield;
The Lord will give grace and glory;
No good thing will He withhold
From those who walk uprightly.
O Lord of hosts,
Blessed is the man who trusts in You!”
He doesn’t withhold anything good from us, when we surrender everything to Him (uprightly has a connotation of entirety, completeness). Hope becomes real when we stop hoping FOR something, and starting hoping IN the Lord. That is when hope sets our souls free. And when the Lord fulfills our longings – they do become a tree of life! Because He has already satisfied us, we can then give Him the glory for the fulfilled longing. Can He entrust you with His glory?
Practical tips for coping with longing:
- Remember Who is in control
- Tell a friend (pray together)
- Surrender (see part 3)
- Wrestle – He can handle it
- Harness the emotion to help others (Want kids – babysit for a tired Mom)
- Grieve. It’s ok to feel it, just don’t dwell there.
- Write a list of what you do have.
- Give thanks for the longing.
- Stay humble and never leave the Throne of Grace
Also in this series: