Isaiah 30:18 (NIV)
For the first time in my life I am about to enter the period when I no longer know the next step. Up to this point the biggest question in my life has been where I was going to college, not if I was to go, but where to go. Starting May 18th, I no longer know what the next step will be, where I’ll be living, or what I’ll be doing. Until just a few days ago, this period has caused a great fear. While it is an exciting time, there is also a fear of the unknown.
I spent this past weekend in Los Angeles interviewing and exploring the city trying to decide if I could live in the “big city.” On the plane ride out there I listened to a sermon that has completely changed my thinking and my heart during this process.
I don’t know if any of you have ever flown west during the late evening as the sun sets, but it is amazing. I was blessed with a window seat during a 2-hour sunset. Every time I looked out it seemed to change from dark pink to orange to red back to the pink. Occasionally it would disappear behind the clouds, but it would return even more beautiful. As I sat staring out the window in wonder, I began to think about the glory and the beauty of the Lord; how powerful He is; and the fact that the God of the universe with infinite power and beauty also longs for me, personally. He longs for me and my heart! How incredible is that? The God of the universe longs for you, and longs for us to long after Him. Why would we not long for companionship and love with Him? What keeps us from consistently longing for His presence and an encounter with Him? This is how we were created: to long for Him!
This idea of longing for Christ reminds me of a time when I was frustrated as a boy and ran away barefoot. (Little did I know the mistake it was to walk barefoot on newly paved asphalt). Within minutes I came running back to the house crying and upset, not because my feet were hot, but because no one came after me. My parents knew I would come back because I was barefoot, but I wanted them to miss me and long for me so much that minutes without me would cause them to chase after me. This is what God’s longing is like, and how our longing for Him should be. He doesn’t want us to take off on foot, but He will long for our return.
I returned because I longed for my parents to come after me. I had experienced their presence, and was sick without them. I couldn’t stand to be away from them. When we long for the Lord we can’t stand being away from His presence and the return is so sweet, you wish you had never left. The longing continues, however, as we long for more and more of Him. How great is that, we can never get enough, no matter how hard we try and how much our heart aches for Him, there will still be more of Him to long for!
Nothing else matters—not a job, not a location, no experience—if we don’t long for Him. If we live a life longing for Him, He will provide us with answers, by providing us with the desires of our heart. (Psalm 37:4) There is nothing we can do to fight the love He has for us all we can do is long for Him. No search on our own gives us answers. As we long for Him and encounter Him, He will respond by satisfying the desires of our hearts.
As I stop stressing about the next step and begin to long for Him, He will show me where He wants me. He will open doors and He will also close them, and as I long for Him I will know in confidence that I will be where the Lord wants me. (Isaiah 22:22)
Our answer? Long and ache in that secret place for encounter with Him, and He will respond provoking us to long for more and more of Him! Why would we not do this?
Lord Jesus, I deeply desire to long for you! With all that I am, I pray that I will have a heart dedicated to longing for you and loving you more and more each day. Only you can satisfy my heart. Only you can provide me with the desires of my heart. As I continue to know you more, I pray that my heart will never stop longing for you. I pray that my soul will yearn for you in the night; and my spirit will long for you in the morning (Isaiah 26:9). Lord Jesus, I deeply desire to love you! Thank you for the incredible way that you long for me and love me unconditionally!