Longing. We have all felt it. Missing, aching, yearning, striving. The feeling of wanting something to bring satisfaction, warmth, comfort, pleasure.
Emptiness. The moment you achieve what you longed for and still have the gnawing on the inside of your chest. The realization that you can’t wait for the next rush, climax, success, affirmation, attention. You are already planning it. Thinking of it. The place of satisfaction is so short lived you wonder if you even experienced it at all.
Comparing. Looking, measuring up your success and ability next to everyone else’s success and abilities. Wanting what’s not yours, chasing after dreams that you long for that will inevitably leave you, longing.
Whether you and I want to admit it or not I believe this is the plight of the human cycle. This is the battle at it’s truest form. The always living for the next high whether it be; attention, fame education, success, pleasure, comfort, money, beauty. We are a people defined by our grasping. Those who grab hold know that what they have in their hand is never enough and those who can’t quite attain are forever envious of those who seem to grasped the allusive.
Peace. Contentment. Worth. Affirmation. At the root of our longing are these things. No matter what form our longing presents itself in, it boils down to these 4 seeds.The desire for peace, contentment, worth and affirmation is what drives our seeking and striving.
In Abraham’s life I speculate as I read chapter 13 of Genesis and because I know Abraham was human too that he struggled with these same feelings. We see Abraham and Lot who he brought with him as he followed God’s call at a crossroads. They both are wealthy and their employees are fighting, there isn’t enough room. They can’t share the space. Lot was Abraham’s nephew and I can imagine Abraham had given him a hand, maybe was a Father figure to him. So he did the humble thing suggesting they separate, letting Lot choose first. Lot chose the best.
We know from more of Lot’s story that he had a wife and children. He settled in a land close to the cities of Sodom and Gomorrah which makes me think he and his family found a place there, community, maybe even notoriety. Abraham on the other hand was isolated away from the city. He had a few close friends and wealth, but no heir, no babies at all. I wonder if Abraham questioned what God was doing in his life as it seemed his nephew had all the “blessings” while he was waiting on a promise.
I don’t know about you, but I can relate to Abraham. Does it ever feel like everybody else is getting everything you feel God promised to you? Do you ever wonder if you have been forgotten about? The longing is deep and real.
We see from the story of Abraham that Lot’s choice really didn’t do him much good. He ends up getting captured and Abraham has to go rescue him and ultimately Lot looses his wife and his daughter disgrace him because of the company he kept and the city he chose. The pleasures, wealth and places he fit in didn’t end up doing him much good in the end.
That longing that we all have it will never be, never be satisfied by anything apart from a relationship and daily surrendering to the Lord of All. Fame, success, money, beauty, education, pleasure, comfort, none of that is bad except if it becomes the why for your life. If you and I are striving for, chasing down anything other than God, if we are living for anything other than his promise we have missed and are missing the contentment, peace affirmation and worth that we so desperately long for. The ache deep inside of us is only satisfied by sitting at the feet of Jesus and bringing others to join us.
The world’s way of striving always looks better. Especially with the right filter, perfect makeup and no evidence of the outtakes. But God’s way IS better. His way may be harder in the middle, it will take more of him and a lot less of us, it will require faith and trust beyond what you think you have to give but in the end we will see his faithfulness and his promise fulfilled.
In Ecclesiastes 3:11 it says that “God has set eternity in the heart of man…” I believe this is the root of our longing, for eternity. Eternity with our Creator God. And until you and I choose to live for the eternal things, the ones that last, we will always find ourselves coming up, longing.
Explore the idea of home with me through November while looking at the life of Abraham. Get every post to your inbox so you don’t miss one by signing up here.