We all have had desert experiences in our lives at different seasons of time along our journey. Some seasons of trial are short and some are very long.
He loves us so much that sometimes He allows us to stay in those deserts for a while to bring us back to Him. When it gets hot and dry we start looking for Him for relief. You know why?
He misses you and desires relationship with you.
Hosea 2:6 says:
“For this reason I will fence her in with thornbushes.
I will block her path with a wall to make her lose her way.”
He does this to bring us to the end of ourselves and to get us to turn to Him in thirsty longing. Then He begins to draw us to Himself. He often takes us aside from every source of comfort so that He alone can have our heart’s attention.
Then He says in Hosea 2:14
“But then I will win her back once again.
I will lead her into the desert and speak tenderly to her there.”
And it is here that we begin to experience Him, not as the God up in Heaven, the big guy in the sky, the God of Sunday Mornings, but as the pursuer of our hearts, as our lover.
“’When that day comes,’ says the Lord, ‘you will call me ‘my husband’
instead of ‘my master.’ I will make you my wife forever, showing you righteousness and justice, unfailing love and compassion.’“ (Hosea 2:16 & 19)
“I will be faithful to you and make you mine, and you will finally know me as the Lord.” (Hosea 2:20)
This love is not something we struggle for, earn, or fear. It is bestowed upon us.
He has chosen us.
We are made for such a love.
Our hearts yearn to be loved intimately, personally, and romantically. We are created to be the object of His desire and affection, and He is totally and completely in love with us.
His love is for each and every one of us. God wants intimacy with you! In order to have it, you must offer it to Him and surrender yourself over to Him.
Part of my story (which you can find in its totality in my first book, Climbing Out of the Box), is that I was forced by extremely painful circumstances and losses into five years of desert life. I experienced the loss of my first marriage, my ministry, my church, and my friends. I was swept into a devastating desert season, where I met Jesus face to face. In the first couple of years of my sweltering in the desert, I experienced:
- Emotional agony
- Empty nest
- Financial woes
Then, out of my own depth of pain, I sought Him.
I began talking…and He did too.
Once I was liberated from performance-based religion, I was alone and free to pursue Him as my lover. I started listening to Him again. And He was faithful to show me how my own denials led me into the wilderness, and He allowed it. He allowed it to show me the difference between true relationship and performance-driven religion. We took walks, drives, and had long talks together.
And when the revelation came that I did not have to do anything to make Him love me more than He did at that moment, nor did I have to do anything but love Him, I was set free.
“So Christ has truly set us free. Now make sure that you stay free and don’t get tied up again in slavery to the law.” (Galatians 5:1)
Based on my own life, and through my observations in my coaching practice, that every unfulfilled longing inside of us originates from a deeper longing for Jesus Himself. It is an emptiness He makes us aware of, that can only be met by His love and none other. And what a love it is!
At different seasons of our lives, we find different longings. Some of us go our whole lives as one big, gaping hole of need. That is so sad to me.
Because now I know that the answer always rested in Him all along. It is so simple, really.
We struggle and we struggle; and we complicate everything by anxiously trying to fix our lives with our own ideas of what we need. Only to find that the thing we tried didn’t work, and now we are right back where we started…and oh, do we feel defeated and hopeless.
We turn to so many things, trying to find that one thing that will satisfy. And we become addicted because we find we can never get enough of just one thing.
Sometimes it is even good things we use to fill that hole…but only to find that the hole is still there afterwards, and we realize we still can’t get enough. That is because we were not meant to. Your creator made you to desire Him. But this world has played havoc on us.
All of these things can be used to attempt to fill us up in one way or another. Though they may be good things, they were never meant to take God’s place in our lives.
- When we are tired and weary, what we really need is Jesus.
- When we are lonely, we really are missing Jesus.
- When we are hungry, but not really, we are searching for something that satisfies, but what we really want is Jesus.
There is a time coming, my friends, when we will find that our every longing will be met by Jesus Himself.
God really does withhold no good thing and if He is withholding something, as much confusion and pain as it brings at that time, it is ultimately for our good and to make us more aware that He is there for us. I have found this to be true again and again in my years with the Lord.
I am deeply flawed, you see, and I am trying to find my way past my fleshly longings to find that sole satisfaction that comes from only my King. And I am seeing the light at the end of the tunnel. It is an amazing journey!
To you who have an unmet longing, whether it be a husband you wish to share life with, a child you yearn to bring into your home (whether through adoption or naturally), a wound from a relationship, a dream or passion to come true that’s laid dormant for years, a hunger to do something you’ve been waiting to do, a desire to move up in your career, the longing to grieve something you’ve lost, whatever it is, my words to you are these:
Your longing is safe with Jesus—maybe you can’t see Him, but He is there and He can not only fulfill your heart that longs for more, He can also give you good things.
You can grieve the lost time that you struggled before you knew this truth and you can be honest. You can talk about it. You can ask these questions:
Where is my life going from here?
What is next?
How do I bring You into my longings, Jesus?
What is He going to do to take away this constant feeling of wanting something that I don’t even know what it is?
Remember, Jesus is holding your every longing. He is waiting for you to turn to Him as your only answer. He longs for you with a passionate desire to walk with you every minute of the day.
Do what it takes to trust Him, whether that means putting yourself out there and sharing, or keeping it in your secret chamber where you meet with God. Your longings are not foreign to Him.