The longing
Devotional

Beyond the Fog: Unveiling the Deep Longings Within Us

We are longing to belong, be loved, and be seen. We have feelings that arise in us that tell us there is something more. But, like looking through a window beading with condensation, we see something. Still, we cannot distinguish the shadowy images on the other side; with our longing and restlessness, how can we answer that inner question that nags us forward.

One day years ago, it was one of those picturesque days in Florida. I walked out in my backyard; the sunlight was pleasant on my face and sparkling on the canal. I stood on the stairs that led from the upper part of my yard down to the canal. My hair fell below my shoulders over the unbuttoned flannel shirt with a t-shirt underneath, and jeans. There I stood as a young teen, looking bright and healthy. Yet, inside, a question was rummaging around: who am I and to what group do I belong?

That experience was over thirty years ago and still echoes in my mind, but now with a different understanding. All our lives, we seek after and grab for something we can’t quite place a name on. We do things, good or bad, to fit into a group. We set goals to obtain things we don’t have, whether good or bad – working hard or even using others to receive what we want. But I am not here to talk about the good or bad motives. I am here to discuss that what we need is obtained differently than what we think. 

There was once a young man who had the world at his fingertips. He had wealth, a good name, and was known as a man of virtue. But in all this, he experienced what I believe we all experience- an inner nagging or restlessness that even in all our success, something is missing that led him to seek out Jesus and ask, “Good teacher, what shall I do that I may inherit eternal life.” He is asking what we all ask, “What can I do or accomplish to settle this restless hunger in me?”

Mark tells us Jesus loved this man and that he instructed him to sell everything and follow Him. Being poor was not the answer Jesus was giving him. Even giving up riches would not answer this question, but it does identify what this young man lacked. This man was trying to do this alone, trusting his wealth and good deeds. He failed to see greater riches beyond the physical means he held in his hand.

A couple of years after that moment in my backyard, I decided to follow Jesus. Some things quickly changed, yet I have sought to answer that question of belonging and wanting to be seen over the years- we all do. But now I realize I operate under a new kingdom, and it’s much different from what we’ve always been taught. We live in a world of opportunity, and yet those opportunities become empty wells when we reach out and try to drink from them. Every day, we look ahead to the future for something promising and work hard to achieve success that we believe is just around the corner. For me, I have discovered that it is God I long for. At the root of every question, every longing, it all goes back to the very source, where all life originates, which is in God through Christ Jesus our Lord.

We have the questions that weigh heavy on our hearts.

What must I do today or in the coming days to stay on the right path?
What is the best way to use the time I have?
What is it I am lacking?
What direction should I go to find the answer?”

Jesus calls us to a new way of thinking. He calls us to not make the things we desire and long for the answer but to seek the kingdom of heaven first. What was the rich young ruler lacking? He lacked trust in God, the very source of all life, and instead put his trust in wealth. Jesus tells us that the Father knows we need money, food, and clothing, but He shifts our thinking to seeking the source of life and trusting Him that He will take care of all our needs.

We read in John, “In Him was life, and the life was the light of men.” Throughout the scriptures, we discover that all things were made through Jesus. We also read that the life we long for comes through Christ. I am starting to realize that in my hunger and restlessness, I may name things I think will satisfy, but now I’m seeing what I really thirst for is God; he is the source of my life.

Does that answer my question of who I am and my purpose? You may not have an answer today, but it redirects your thinking to Him and to trust that He will fill that hunger. We believe that God will care for our needs each day, which frees us to love others, be kind, and walk in humility, trusting God. 

That leaves me with one last idea I wish to share with you. Those questions and longings will persist in this life, yet we are free now from trying to name ourselves or take the blessing ourselves (more on that later). In Ephesians, Paul writes that we have an inheritance reserved in heaven. We also read that we don’t see things clearly now, but the day will come when we will. I cannot begin to detail what that inheritance is we wait for, but it’s a wholeness we never have experienced in this life. It will be the question answered we have always sought, and in the book of Revelation, there is an exciting verse I’d like to leave you with. Jesus says, “He who has an ear, let him hear what the Spirit says to the churches. To him who overcomes I will give some of the hidden manna to eat. And I will give him a white stone, and on the stone a new name written which no one knows except him who receives it.” Revelation 2:17 

One day, we will eat hidden manna and receive a name. Then we will realize that’s what we always longed for, and some have even sought to steal it (Read the story of Jacob stealing the birthright from Jacob), but it’s not something you can take for yourself. It’s reserved and waiting for you, and now we are called to seek first the kingdom of God and His righteousness and know that He is with us and will take care of all our needs. 

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