Mar 26, 2020

Reflections on: Longing in the Desert

So we are almost through week 2. As a proud introvert and homebody, I really identified with this meme. But now that we’re almost through week 2, I’m really feeling it… the longing. The longing for community. The longer to sing together on Sunday morning. The longing to give hugs and comfort to those who are hurting. The longing to see my friends and family. The longing to go to museums (I never took advantage of them enough before!) and movies and all the other things that I always thought I had time for.

This longing stirs up this really uncomfortable feeling and at first, I will do whatever I can to get rid of that feeling. I might turn on the TV, or go on instagram and scroll for a little bit, or go through my contacts to see who I can text with. I didn’t realize how unaware and quick I was to try and distract myself out of these feelings. But I started to take note of this longing… and have been turning to God with these feelings, because as we were reminded this past Sunday, only God truly satisfies.

Pastor Mitchel took us through Psalm 63 and focused on this very idea through David’s devotion and longing for God.

David describes the way he longs for God: 

  • His longing is three-fold: He’s seeking, thirsting, fainting as in a dry and tiring land where there is no water. As if looking out for water, David’s on the lookout for God. [v1]
  • David’s soul longs for God and he refuses to settle for any substitutes. God is his only satisfaction and remedy. He remembers how God is the source of his joy. [V. 2-4] 
  • David is hungry, and God satisfies his soul like food. [v5-7]
  • God has been his help. And the imagery of the shadow of his wings, is the imagery of protection. God has been David’s helper and protector. [v7]
  • David clings to God because God upholds him. God sustains him. God defends him against his enemies. [v8-9]

Are we clinging to God, crying out to God in this way? We are in the midst of a Corona Wilderness, and if I’m being honest with myself, I’m trying to find ways to pass the time and am looking forward to the day when things go “back to normal.”

But what a waste that would be! To have let this time pass by and not have redeemed it in any way. To have this historic pandemic take place and not have been changed by it.

Pastor Mitchel shared some Biblical perspective on what God could do with this time; the opportunities we have to grow closer to Him in ways unique to this particular situation.

If we’re really honest, we don’t seek God the way we should. We seek other lesser things first. But, that’s the beauty of the Gospel. God seeks us in the wilderness of death and sin. He seeks us even as we run from Him. He came seeking us through Jesus, His Son. Jesus laid down His life, died for our sins so that we don’t have to be condemned or rejected, but so that we could meet God.

And it’s up to us to accept that invitation and to return to that truth. Otherwise, we will never be fully satisfied and will always be left longing. 

So don’t just pass the time. Don’t try to distract yourself out of the unsettled feeling of longing. Instead, choose to dwell in that space. Sit, be still, and pray. Open the Bible. Listen to music that makes you want to worship. Journal your thoughts. Thoughtfully engage with those around you.

This is just the beginning of this “new normal” that we find ourselves in. We’ve already found ways to adapt – zoom, facetime, and google chats are now the places to be; we are out walking and meeting neighbors that we didn’t know we had; and we’re finding ways to ration our toilet paper and food, to limit our grocery runs.

But will that be the only way our lives will have changed? I really hope not. I hope we don’t miss this opportunity of getting to know God in a deeper way, through this very unique set of circumstances we find ourselves in. I hope we will know what it means to sing this song with David: God, you are MY GOD and earnestly I seek you. My soul thirsts for you. My body faints for you. Only you.

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