Living for Longing

For quite some time I have been trying to accurately formulate a thought about longing and desire. The tendency of human beings to constantly want what we don’t have is really astounding (not to mention frustrating). But I think it is indicative of a deeper truth, one that strikes at the core of what we were created for.

Longing is interesting because we seem to be in love with longing more than anything else in the whole world. We want that new girlfriend, outfit, car, house, job, and whatever else you can name, and we want it regardless of what we currently have. “The grass is always greener on the other side,” we say glibly, but unfortunately we can often be at the mercy of this “green grass syndrome.”

The problem here is that when we actually get the things we want, they are immediately replaced by something else. Have you ever bought that brand new computer thinking it was the best thing ever invented, only to find out that the new model (which is twice as good as yours) gets released a week later? Everything that is new will eventually become old. That’s just the way it is.

The fact that we are never satisfied by getting what we want seems to indicate to me that we are missing the point somewhere. We seem to believe that after we get what we want we will be satisfied and content and our wanting will be over. But hasn’t our experience proven that this is not the case? We actually want to want, and yet we believe what we really want is the stuff.

I think we are meant to live in the state of perpetual longing for our whole lives. The only way we can survive this perpetual longing is to direct this longing in the right direction. This comes back to the one thing we were made to do: worship.

When we direct our longing toward God, we are simultaneously satisfied and left wanting more. The thing that sets this apart from our longing for stuff is that stuff leaves us feeling cheated and empty; longing for God fills us up and leaves us wanting more. The good news is that we can always have more because God’s riches are inexhaustible.

So do not be deceived by your desires for things. Remember that the things will never satisfy you. You were made to desire God, so that you would pursue him and reach out to him. Direct your desire toward your Creator and you will find the most satisfying hunger imaginable.

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