Have you ever wanted something so badly that you felt ill? Have you hoped for an event to occur or awaited the outcome of a decision that you literally ached for your desire to become a reality? The Cambridge Dictionary defines this feeling in this way:
A strong feeling of wishing for something, especially something that you cannot have or get easily.Cambridge Dictionary
(Other synonyms are: desire, craving, want, wish, longing, hunger, etc.) When I was about 6 or 7 years old I remember yearning for a bike! I wanted one so bad that I kept looking at bicycles in stores, circling them in magazines (before Amazon wishlists existed for the kids and teens reading this…), writing about how great it would be to have a bike, etc.
Years later, I yearned to have a girlfriend. If only I could have a girlfriend, my problems would go away, I wouldn’t be so lonely, and everything would be great! I wrote about my someday true love, I prayed God would lead me to the right girl, I really hoped he would answer soon.
Today, I yearn for more time. There is much I want to accomplish, much I want to learn, and much I want to experience. I long to have hours to dedicate to reading books, to spending with my wife, and to invest into other people. So here I am, writing about it, thinking about it, and planning for what comes next.
Through each of these examples, possessions (like a bike), relationships (like a girlfriend), and intangible desires (such as time), I hope it has stirred in your mind something that you have desired and yearned for. Sometimes God gives us what we long for, but as great as any of our desires may be, they can never be ultimate. Our lives are incredibly short; we have only this moment promised and nothing more.
Desires for things like money, success, and family, can be great blessings, but they are terrible gods. David writes in Psalm 42:1-2: “As the deer pants for streams of water, so my soul pants for you, my God. My soul thirsts for God, for the living God. When can I go and meet with God?”
This is the kind of yearning that we must have for nothing else but the Lord himself. I need to cry out daily from a heart of yearning, “When can I go meet with God? I would set aside ANYTHING to be in his presence. He is worthy of my life and I long to just be in his presence.”
Now, before you think I have arrived at a place of “perfected desire”, I must write honestly. There are many mornings when my first thought is: “oh no, I’m late!!” Or, “….Cofffeeeee.”
But if I understand who Jesus is, what he has accomplished on the cross, and rose again to declare, how can I long for anything more than being in his very near presence today? And if I desire that more than anything, I must adjust my schedule and my plans accordingly.
There is no pursuit of your life that will equal the supreme joy that is found in the presence of Jesus Christ.
Other desires, we are not talking about sinful desire here, but good desires are given from God. There was nothing wrong with wanting a bike, wishing for a girlfriend, and desiring to use my time well. It is only when those good desires begin to rob my yearning for Jesus. When they take his place in my heart, they are no longer gifts, but idols.
And when you don’t know what exactly you desire, think of the inner turmoil that has been going on since creation began:
For we know that the whole creation has been groaning together in the pains of childbirth until now. And not only the creation, but we ourselves, who have the first-fruits of the Spirit, groan inwardly as we wait eagerly for adoption as sons, the redemption of our bodies. For in this hope we were saved. Now hope that is seen is not hope. For who hopes for what he sees? But if we hope for what we do not see, we wait for it with patience.Romans 8:22-28
Likewise the Spirit helps us in our weakness. For we do not know what to pray for as we ought, but the Spirit himself intercedes for us with groanings too deep for words. And he who searches hearts knows what is the mind of the Spirit, because the Spirit intercedes for the saints according to the will of God. And we know that for those who love God all things work together for good, for those who are called according to his purpose.
God has wired us to yearn for something. That something is ultimately fulfilled in the person of Christ. What are you longing for and yearning to have? I pray that we would long for a world and a kingdom that is already here and not yet fully come.
“If I find in myself a desire which no experience in this world can satisfy, the most probable explanation is that I was made for another world.”C.S. Lewis
Do you yearn for Jesus?
If you do, make Him the focus of your daily life. Worship him with other believers and worship him when you’re by yourself. Ask him to grow in your heart a desire for his kingdom to come and his will to be done.
If you have moments when you don’t yearn for or desire God, here is a free book from Desiring God ministries that I’m sure will be a blessing to you: Click HERE to download.