Thursday, September 24, 2009

Longing For the Gospel

It's interesting ... toward the end of last weekend, I had a conversation with my aunt, who is not a believer to my knowledge, about the longing that we feel for something greater in life -- that longing for deep passion, completeness and soul satisfaction. And it all started as we were sorting through my Grandma's short stories and poetry ... pieces that I had never seen or heard before. As she read them aloud, I was struck by the deep passion in them and how I could almost see my Grandma's soul lift off the page and speak of years of longing for something that she once had or thought she had.

Isn't it true for us women that we always long for something like this, even if we are in a healthy place in marriage and know how deeply our husband loves and cherishes us? Or, it's in those growing moments or days or weeks when we do feel distant due to our own selfishness and desire for something that's not real at all -- an almost Hollywood-like romance.

When we put it all in perspective though, this is the longing that God has ingrained in us for His glory (whether we know it or not). This longing is our soul's desire for the gospel, and it's only the gospel that will fulfill that deep longing and nothing else.

This is the longing that I believe my Grandma was writing about in her poetry, and the longing that my aunt sensed that she has always yearned for -- whether in silent moments as she longs for the past, or during those peaceful and awe-inspiring moments amidst the Colorado mountains, or as she simply reads about someone else's life, like my Grandma's, and longing to experience those things for herself.

At times, we think that it's just a healthy marriage that will bring back this passion or the right boyfriend. Or for some, it's just the right job, or that new car, or the security of a higher paying job. But as believers, when we sit back and really think about it, while God does provide some of these things to provide for us here on earth, those things aren't the answer to our soul's longing. The only answer is Jesus Christ!

We see this in Solomon's writing in Ecclesiastes. Solomon seeks after and achieves all the love, pleasure, riches, and wisdom that he could possibly obtain, yet he still finds it all meaningless. He doesn't conclude that the answer is Jesus Christ since it is the old testament, but he does say this: "... Here is the conclusion of the matter: Fear God and keep his commandments, for this is the whole duty of man" (Ecclesiastes 12:13). And if we look to the new testament to see what God's commandments are, I think we find our answer in John 15:10-11: "If you obey my Father's commands, you will remain in my love. I have told you this so that my joy may be in you and that your joy may be complete."

It doesn't seem like this verse spells it out in black and white, but it does say that if we obey God's commands (as Solomon suggested), Jesus' love will remain in us, and his entire reasoning behind having his love remain in us is so that His joy may be in us, which ultimately COMPLETES our joy. So, I guess that's it! We seek high and low for joy and pleasure from God-created things, but the only way for that joy to be complete is to have Jesus' love in us ... that only comes through his gospel and knowing Jesus Christ himself.

Pastor Tyler Jones of Vintage21 Church begins to unpack this truth in his study of Romans 1.

Sacred Romance, by Brett Curtis and John Elderidge, is a book that explores this sense of longing too. It's been many years since I've read the book, but I do have fond memories of the book as I read it while sitting on the beach and peering out into the ocean before me. It's a good read and I recommend it if you're looking to explore this topic in more detail.

No comments:

Post a Comment