Before you read what Longing is, make sure you read what it isn’t too. Click here.
Longing is a mirror that we look into and see our true motives. Purified longing takes something that is good and makes it great. I long to be appreciated for what I do; not a bad desire, but the Lord sees the motive. When I am not appreciated and don’t get what I want, longing holds up the mirror to reveal a selfish heart. Longing teaches me to love and serve with agape love – expecting nothing in return, serving out of love for the Lord, not the desire to be appreciated.
Longing is a chance to feel what Christ feels. The Spirit longs for His bride. We think we might have been waiting long, but what have we done to Christ? His bride dallies in her marriage preparations daily. We hurt him, grieve Him, and ask Him to wait to come back for us until we can do or experience certain things – until our desires are fulfilled. As we long, it’s a reminder that the Lord feels longings too – for us. How great is His love for us! We are His bride whom He is separated from. (Revelation 21). Longing is about realizing that our story is really about the cross. It’s about becoming the bride of Christ. Christ is coming back for a body that is in portion to its head. Are you ready for Him?
Longing is a reminder we are made for more.
“Heaven is not here. It’s there. If we were given all we wanted here, our hearts would settle for this world rather than the next. God is forever luring us up and away from this one, wooing us to Himself and His still invisible Kingdom, where we will certainly find what we so keenly long for.” – Elisabeth Elliot – Keep A Quiet Heart
We aren’t made for this earth, friends. Longing keep us from getting comfortable and settling for the shadows of reality.
Longing understands. There is such comfort in knowing that the Lord understands our longings too. Isaiah 40:27 tells us that our ways are not hidden from Him, nor is our cause disregarded. He sees you friend! And He understands your pain.
O Lord, all my longing is before you; my sighing is not hidden from you. Psalm 38:9
We can also understand each other’s pain – pain and longing are what make us human, and we have the privilege of comforting each other (2 Cor 1).
Longing is perspective and focus. Without darkness we would never know what light was. The same applies to what we long for – with longing comes a unique perspective. In the absence of what our heart desires, there is room to love and appreciate what was passed over before. Within longing we see a side of the Father’s face that is only shown to those in holy anguish. The choice is always ours – to focus on what we do have, or what we don’t have.
“I don’t have time to maintain these regrets when I think about the way you love us”
While Crowder might have been writing about the regrets of sin, when I sing this song it also means the regrets that come from unmet desires. There is a lot of truth in that line. When we are focused on the Lord’s love for us right now, we can’t regret what He has not yet given us. Our hearts can dwell on only one thing at time, we can foster discontent by focusing on our longings, or we can set them aside and focus on His love for us. A love that motivates and drives us to the point that we are so caught up in it, that there is no room for regrets.*
There is a lot of things that longing is, and that it isn’t, but what do we do with it?
Next: Longing – What Now.
*Please note that not focusing on the longing does not mean it goes away – it won’t always, but it becomes manageable and no longer paralyzes us when our focus is on Christ’s love.
Also in this series: