4/19/2016

In the Longing

I look at happy people differently now. It's not that I'm not a happy person, I really do enjoy this existence most of the time. But lately I have been bombarded with darkness and evil so much that I just long for kindness and love... a lot. When I scroll my social media feeds and get updates from far-away friends, I see the highlights of their lives and their happy selfies. There was a time when I was envious and self-pitying because of the many trials I faced. Now I see something different.

I see hope for my kids and the people I impact that still have a chance at building the right foundation for their lives. Sure, I feel anxiety over the possibility that history will repeat and I'll watch them make the same mistakes I did. But because of God's redemptive plan, the hope outweighs the fear.

His presence is everywhere in my story, even when I couldn't sense it. He has a view of each generation as though a thousand years has already passed. I am a blip on His radar, that's all. And yet, He counts my hairs. Each of my days is so known by Him that it would take a thousand years for me to analyze the data He's gathered from each of them. Still, my limited view antagonizes me. Blinded by my finite mind that can't fathom His eternal purposes. I just grow weary not knowing, when I should grow more relaxed in trusting.

The devil hangs around a lot these days. He hangs on my every word, looking for where he might twist and pervert the truth or pressure me into feeling hopeless. I'd be accustomed to him if his spiritual stench wasn't so foul. I spend time in the sweet and comforting embrace of my Lord and then I get a whiff of sin and it throws me off. It's like enjoying a nice meal in a bakery café and then walking by a garbage bin on your way back to your job. What a contrast! I don't know what the devil is even up to most of the time, but I smell him.

The longing is what gets me all worked up. It's a subconscious and spiritual pull that makes me hunger for Heaven and eternity. I want to make the time go by faster so I can see fruit pop out onto the branches. I'm watching the little buds as their petals fall off, knowing what comes next. Then they have to grow... then they have to RIPEN... and then, only then, will they be good for food. But when you take that first juicy bite, it's like... Heaven.

Nothing great ever came quickly after the fall. Before the fall, God spoke things into existence. One word and, BAM! In one day, the world was ready for life. The trees produced an abundance of fruit that the first humans lived off of. It was a life only of endless possibility, discovery, worship, and fellowship with others and God Himself. This waiting, longing, and hoping... these things were a non-issue. We were living in perfect harmony and contentment without a need or lack of anything.

So here I am walking in eternal Life and eating of the Tree of Life, that is Jesus Christ, and yet I live in a fallen world of corruption, toil, and a bittersweet longing that I can feel deep into every part of this body. Every encounter I have with sin, the devil, those who love ignorance, and death leaves me wanting to wash out my soul with God's cleansing water of Life... every moment of every day.

I suppose I'm at the brink of something because it's at times like these that I can't find rest or peace until I've wrestled like Jacob for that blessing. Lord, take me to the next level! Bless me! I won't let go until You've replaced that part of me with Yourself. It's the part that wants to hold on to this so-called reality. It's the self-indulgent part that believes in the power of man over You. It's the part that still takes the devil's threats seriously or even considers them!

I need Your Spirit to face his temptations. He approaches me with the same temptations that You faced in the wilderness. He offers me creature comforts and dainties galore if only I will do it his way. He throws scripture at me and threatens me with a scarlet letter or a witch trial if I don't conform to his established religious order and seek the so-called truth about You on his or mankind's terms. So I guess the next level is getting me to worship my own faith and lose sight of Your guiding hand. The temptation is to place my trust of You on trial with an ultimatum. That's when the devils thinks he's calling my bluff. "If you trust God so much, make some showy display to prove your faith!" No. God has been patient with me as I tested His faithfulness as much as I could. Now I simply obey.

Lately, I don't understand everything about the path He has me on. Sometimes I try to carry the burden that He carries for me and I get instantly squashed. He reminds me gently that I can't stop trusting Him now, especially because my trust transcends my own understanding. He hasn't called me to this place to abandon me. When it looks the scariest, He is near. His revelation draws closer and closer even as He walks toward me on the water. Everything in me wants to explain it away, even with my own silly superstitions. No, that's not some ghost coming at us on the waves. It's not something from my imagination or from the devil's horrors. It is my Lord! I got myself all worked up and He was right on time. If only someone had reminded me or encouraged me. Well, He did. My insatiable longing led me to write this. Writing is an ever-faithful means of getting outside my own chaotic mind to put things in order. When I can read them to myself I can grasp them. He brings me peace and all of the other things that He is.