Tim and Jill Way

Adventures of the Way Family

Longing

As the deer pants for streams of water,

so my soul pants for you, O God.

My soul thirsts for God,  for the living God.

When can I go and meet with God?

— Psalm 42:1-2

I long for God.  Not for an experience.  Not for a spiritual high.  But to know Him.  To walk with Him.  To be sure of His presence.  To know that He loves me, and to love Him in return.  To be faithful.  To honor him in my life – with my actions, my words, my very thoughts.  To serve His Kingdom and advance His mission.  To represent Him rightly.  To give Him all my burdens, and to receive His in return (so light and beautiful they are – and yet so real and right!).

I don’t tend to get goose bumps.  I’ve never seen a vision or heard an audible voice.  I’m not always sure what it means to feel His presence in a service.  But I want to know Him, and I rejoice in the sure knowledge that He is with me.

I long for God!  My thirst for Him is deeper than the more surface emotions that tend to dominate my daily life.  It is deeper than my longing for comfort or security or even happiness.  Yet it is not simply rational.  It is deeply emotional.  It exists in the place where reason and will and emotion all swirl together.  It informs my decisions and how I choose to live my life.

I want to know Christ and the power of his resurrection and the fellowship of sharing in his sufferings, becoming like him in his death. – Phil 3:10

I know that many of you are right there with me.  You read passages like the ones quoted here, and something stirs deep within.

Deep calls to deep
in the roar of your waterfalls

Psalm 42:7

How do we respond to this – this ache that is so beautiful and mysterious?  This yearning that is never quite satisfied, but which is itself desirable and somehow fulfilling?

And what about those of us who are in a season (or a life) devoid of such stirrings?  You want to long for God, but you feel tired, dry, and deeply alone.  All motivation towards spiritual things has vanished, and you are discouraged, confused, and perhaps even angry.

In whichever state of spiritual aliveness you find yourself, I invite you into the ancient journey into God’s heart.  Whether as a response to the inner ache or a response to the apparent lack thereof, there is a simple way marked out for us.  The description of it appears utterly un-profound.  The practice can feel forced and unproductive.  And the inner voices proclaim, “It doesn’t work for me.  I’ve tried it before.”  And yet, with persistence, endurance, and simple faith, I believe we can all find our way and experience more of God in our daily walk.

Prayer.  Whether you are good or bad at it, whether full of faith or riddled with doubt, I challenge you to simply pray.  Every day.  Even if you can set aside 15 minutes in the morning, and another few in the evening… tell God you want Him.  Ask Him to reveal His love to you.  Share your heart, and ask to know His.

The Word.  His Word is life.  It is light.  It is bread.  Again, its ok to start small.  Little bites each day. Read one chapter in the morning. Meditate on a single verse all day long.  Ask God to speak to you, and listen to His voice, telling you who you are and who He is, and how He sees you.

Community.  We need each other.  Specifically, we need to gather together, centered on prayer and the Word.  Don’t stop just because you feel too busy or too dry or too whatever.

I invite you to renew your commitment to the above practices, with a few simple thoughts:

1.  Do them in faith.  Choose to believe that God is doing more than you sense.

2.  Be consistent.  Just as your body needs to eat, drink, and breathe fairly regularly, so your spirit needs these practices.

3.  Persist.  Don’t give up.  Be patient.  You can go long periods of time completely unaware of God’s activity – but you are building health and receiving life with each small step.

Deep calls to deep.  Something of God is calling to something deep within you.  You may feel it.  You may just have to accept it.  But joy comes only in responding to Him.


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