Last week we took a sweeping look at the grandeur of God. Today I want to zoom (anyone been using that word a lot lately?!) in on how personal He is. Do you know what He is after even more than your obedient sacrifices and perfect track records? Your heart!

Those longings and desires deep inside that you struggle to define with words — they were put there by God. Desire has a split personality though. From its dark side spring obsessions and addictions and greed. And from its bright side flow creativity, love, and passion. I think sometimes it’s fear of that first side of desire that prevents us from bravely exploring our longings and dreams. What if they take us down a wrong road? But desire is part of how God created us…even the desire to be pursued, to be loved deeply and intimately. No matter the myriad of twisted ways we draw on the wells of those desires, their source is still God. The conclusion of the matter is that only God can fully satisfy them. Ahhhh, now we’re getting to worship.

Does it make you uncomfortable to think that God desires you more deeply than the most passionate lover? Who ever said love is comfortable? It takes vulnerability and courage. If your desires have taken you from one dry well to another, and your soul is left a bit more parched every time, come to Jesus. He’s got the Living Water of His Holy Spirit for you. The same Living Water He gave to a woman at a well who had looked for love in a lot of wrong places…make that five husbands to be exact, settling for the conveniences of “love” without marriage the sixth time.

I won’t pretend this doesn’t require faith. Maybe you haven’t reached the disappointing dregs of your pet earthly wells yet, and you’re still determined to find fulfillment there. You’re convinced you know the ins and outs of your needs better than God does. ‘If I surrender to Him,’ you might say, ‘He’s only concerned about His own glory, with my “good” tacked on somehow as an afterthought. I’m managing quite well. I’ve learned to just keep a tight lid on that desire box! I almost forgot about those longings completely…until you brought it up with your silly little blog post.’ Well, maybe you wouldn’t be quite that caustic! But let me gently remind you that what you have settled for is NOTHING compared to the goodness of God!

I started a book yesterday by C. S. Lewis called The Great Divorce. I loved this quote from his introduction:

If we insist on keeping Hell (or even earth) we shall not see Heaven: if we accept Heaven we shall not be able to retain even the smallest souvenirs of Hell. I believe, to be sure, that any man who reaches Heaven will find that what he abandoned (even in plucking out his right eye) was precisely nothing: that the kernel of what he was really seeking even in his most depraved wishes will be there, beyond expectation, waiting for him “in the High Countries.”

from The Great Divorce by C.S. Lewis

Even the smallest souvenirs of Hell. Ouch! God is a jealous God, and He wants all of you. He loves you fiercely, and it’s the love you have always craved. He loves you because of who you are; He loves you in spite of who you are. He knows your worth; He knows your unworthiness. And there is nothing you can possibly let go of in this world that you won’t find something unimaginably better in God Himself.

I hope this song about the goodness of God blesses you today as it has blessed me. He is pursuing a loving, intimate relationship with each of His children. I pray you would allow yourself to be overtaken by His pursuing goodness today. I leave you with a blessing by the Irish poet John O’Donohue from his book To Bless the Space Between Us. I wish I could take your hand and place it in the hand of Jesus as these words settle into the deepest, surest nooks of your soul today…

For Longing

Blessed be the longing that brought you here
And quickens your soul with wonder.
May you have the courage to listen to the voice of desire
That disturbs you when you have settled for something safe.
May you have the wisdom to enter generously into your own unease
To discover the new direction your longing wants you to take.
May the forms of your belonging — in love, creativity, and friendship —
Be equal to the grandeur and the call of your soul.
May the one you long for long for you.
May your dreams gradually reveal the destination of your desire.
May a secret Providence guide your thoughts and nurture your feeling.
May your mind inhabit your life with the sureness with which your body inhabits the world.
May your heart never be haunted by ghost-structures of old damage.
May you come to accept your longing as divine urgency.
May you know the urgency with which God longs for you.

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