Ending the Year with Longing

My word for 2014 was “satisfied.” But as the end of the year approached, ironically the idea God was laying heavy on my mind and heart was that of longing.

Longing is, in many ways, the opposite of satisfied; but it’s also the beginning of satisfied. I can’t feel satisfied if I’ve never felt longing.

But longing is a feeling we try to escape. It’s a feeling we never want to feel for long. And so we stuff ourselves with cheap substitutes to make the feeling go away. For instance, if I’m hungry, I don’t voluntarily allow myself to feel that way for long. I want that knawing to go away, even if I satisfy it with a snickers instead of a real meal. I have to give in to that longing.

Sometimes that longing is loneliness, sorrow, anxiety, or a feeling of being overwhelmed with life. Maybe it’s a longing for hope, for justice, for the way things should have been before the Fall. Maybe a painful tragedy, broken relationship, or a hurtful remark triggers that longing.

Do I despise that longing and seek to eradicate it, or do I see my longing as a gift drawing me closer to God?

I’ve been reading Hosea in my personal Bible study, and one truth that has stood out to me is that the Lord talks of stripping Israel of everything—naked, hungry, destitute—a state of absolute longing, so that Israel will long for God once again.

Longing is uncomfortable, even painful. But blessed are those who hunger and thirst, who are longing, for righteousness. They will be satisfied.

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