(from “the longing” by All Sons & Daughters…check out the whole song here and the song story here)
The Lord woke me up with this song first on my pandora playlist this morning, after several switches through playlists. But he stopped me on this one, and it set the tone of my morning. Just to be honest, it’s been a rough week. After a really great and inspiring week last week, watching God move in amazing ways, this week has been full of both wonderful ups and confusing downs. But that’s life. God is bigger than life, though.
And this morning, by His grace, I’m finally able to slow down, sense that, trust His hand is still at work in it all, and be revived in learning a new lesson from this song that I can even find a few minutes, sit down, and share with you. I’ve missed blogging. There’s SO much to say, SO much going on, and not enough time to get it all out of my heart and mind and prayer journal. Perhaps there will be a short bullet-point list at the end of this. But first things first, this lesson.
As this song played over me, my heart was simultaneously challenged and comforted by this re-defining of what love is.
It’s a longing.
A deep-seated emotion that desires more than what is being given.
It was placed in my heart.
I did not conjure it up, and I cannot increase it. This is God’s area of expertise.
Why? to know GOD & be known by Him.
Bottom line of love: it revolves around God. I look to Him, let Him in, become vulnerable with Him, grow in relationship to Him; it is a vertical direction that must be met first and foremost before it can ever translate effectively into horizontal relationships here on earth.
What hit me even more as I continued to listen was this: When I feel this longing in my other relationships, it is a sign that I am not pressing into His all-satisfying love deeply enough. The longing is meant to take me to His love only. Because only His love can meet my heart exactly where it is. Only His love can fill my heart and life with joy that cannot be shaken. Only His love can comfort me, take care of me, teach me, and mold me to look more like Him, perfectly.
This world and its love, even the Church’s love, cannot do any of that as perfectly as He can.
I need to know that.
A) to give the Body of Christ a break. She cannot do what He can. Yes, we need to be there for each other, but we cannot always be. And that’s ok. That’s how it was meant to be. She’s only a picture, a more tangible sampling of
what HE wants to be for us.
B) to give myself a break. Just like the Church, I cannot be for others what God can be. I cannot. God wants this knowledge, even this longing to bring great FREEDOM into our lives. ABUNDANCE is His calling for us (john 10.10). Sometimes it takes the wilderness, alone and destitute with His love as our only company (see Hosea 2.14-23), to see the amazing, freeing abundance of love that He alone offers His people.
A practical note: Ok, so if I’m feeling this longing, what do I do? How do I press into His love? Ask Him. Read His Word (especially Hosea). Be convicted and challenged. Do not despair. Remember that He loves you, and that is enough. More than enough. We cannot fathom the depths of His love. Let’s just try.
1st john 4.13-19
By this we know that we abide in him and he in us, because he has given us his spirit. And we have seen and testify that the Father has sent his Son to be the Savior of the world. Whoever confesses that Jesus is the Son of God, God abides in him, and he in God. So we have come to know and to believe the love that God has for us. God is love, and whoever abides in love abides in God, and God abides in him. By this is love perfected with us, so that we may have confidence for the day of judgment, because as he is so also are we in this world (we are not alone). There is no fear in love, but perfect love casts out fear. For fear has to do with punishment, and whoever fears has not been perfected in love. We love because he first loved us.
Father, perfect us by your love. Cast out every fear in our hearts that hinders us from fully being found in your love, and help us to love others only out of the abundance of love that you have given us. Continue to set us free from ourselves and our expectations of love, because you alone can satisfy us. Only your love is more than enough. Continue to make that clear, even in the wilderness, draw us closer and closer to you. Thank you for being our teacher, leading us into all truth.
(also: I’m going to East Asia this Christmas break. We’ve officially reached the less-than-a-month mark. WHAT?! message me for more info!)