Here we are. A brand new year stretches before us as an adventure waiting to happen. The possibilities that are before us are both exciting and a little scary all at the same time. No one knows what’s going to happen personally, communally, nationally or globally.
As you prepare for this great adventure to unfold, what is your heart longing for?
I’ve been thinking about that question and my answers have ranged all the way from being able to fit into a size six jeans (you skinny people won’t be able to relate to that), to learning how to keep my mouth shut when appropriate (like that’s ever going to happen), to the deep desire to hear my husband’s laugh one more time. How I long to be able to talk to him, and share life with him again. I ask you again, what is the desire of your heart for this next year? Is it something as simple as losing weight? Maybe it’s a deeper personal longing to find a job, get clear direction for your life, have broken relationships restored, or to find someone who will love you unconditionally. Or maybe you are longing for an end to this violence in our country and around the world or a solution to the economic crisis. Perhaps you are fervently praying for peace, justice and righteousness to reign. Maybe your longing is for something you’ve been dealing with for years – a parent’s love and acceptance, a child to be born, a marriage to be healed. Some of our longings will be satisfied and some will not.
That is an easy question to ask, but a difficult question to answer affirmatively and even more difficult to live out. I don’t think it is wrong to long for something. After all, we are human beings and it is part of our nature, but we have to be very careful that our longings don’t give rise to a lack of contentment or ingratitude for what we do have. I have to admit that this is a difficult road to walk. It takes commitment and a daily choice to trust God and submit to His will. There have been times when I really didn’t “feel” like accepting God’s will – it led me to a place that was full of pain and sorrow, but I have learned that following God’s will isn’t a guarantee of perpetual happiness. It certainly wasn’t that way for Jesus Christ. Yet He made a choice – THE most difficult choice – to submit to His Father’s will. Who am I that I should not make that same choice? I need to bend my will to His even when it hurts – even when I don’t “feel like it. When we submit our longings, our lives to God’s will, we open ourselves up to encounter miracles. I have discovered that submission (no matter how painful at the time) gives me an opportunity to experience an intimacy with my Abba that molds me into a clearer image of Him, gives me a deeper understanding of His love and grace, and fills my heart with joy and peace that are beyond description. My faith and trust grow stronger. I have strength to face whatever the future holds and an assurance that He will always be with me. Honestly, it is not easy to submit my longings to Him, but I’ve learned there is no other way to live in victory and I have learned that the struggle to surrender is well worth the effort.
Having said all of that, there is one thing I continue to long for with ever increasing passion – even more than being with David again. That is to see the face of Jesus.
I feel like the Greek men who approached Philip in John 12:21 and said, “Sir, we would like to see Jesus.” I can hear the hunger in their voice and I share their deep yearning. The intensity of my desire to see Him with all barriers and veils removed is beyond my ability to express in words. The words of 1 Corinthians 13:12 resonate in my spirit, “Now we see but a poor reflection as in a mirror; then we shall see face to face. Now I know in part; then I shall know fully, even as I am fully known.” That is what I am longing for!! I want to see what David saw right before He died. I want to look into those eyes and see the love that defines and sustains me. I want to be held close to His chest and enfolded by His grace.
I LONG TO SEE JESUS!
Until that day I will rejoice in all the ways God has revealed Himself to us. I will praise Him for allowing us to have an intimate relationship with Him on this earth. This Christmas season I have been doing a lot of thinking about Jesus’ name “Emmanuel” – God with us. Last night as I was reading from the devotional “Come Away My Beloved” by Frances J. Roberts, I was struck by these powerful words, “…desert all else to follow the call of the Spirit until…until all emptiness and loneliness of the subterranean recesses of his soul are flooded by the sublime, glorious reality of Emmanuel. Emmanuel! God with us – God in us – God in me! God in you!” All I could say was, “Amen and amen!” Praise God that He is indeed with us so let’s be grateful for the Holy Spirit who enables us to know Him intimately. It is in His presence that all other longing will fade until we are left with contentment and a longing to see His face.
My prayer for you, dear reader, is that God will not only give you the desires of your heart this year, but also that your deepest desire will be to see Him face to face. I offer these verses from Psalm 37 to you as a blessing and a prayer, “Delight yourself in the Lord and he will give you the desires of your heart. Commit your way to the Lord, trust in him and he will do this: He will make your righteousness shine like the dawn, the justice of your cause like the noonday sun.” Have a blessed 2013 and remember to submit your longings to Him so His contentment can reign in your life.