Chai latte in hand, I strolled through our local bookstore, browsing the titles and beauty of books, journals and stationary. I recalled the former days when I was drawn to the bookstore like a moth to a lighted lamp nearby.
I would longingly look at the books, not realizing that the longing I felt would not be fully satisfied by just simply reading about God and His ways. Even when I found another good book, my yearning was not for knowledge, but for a deeper relationship with Jesus and to encounter His love, truth and beauty.
Words and pictures can help lead us and even stir up the flame of love in our hearts, but they cannot fully satisfy. It took me a while to realize that my desire to feel satisfied was what drew me to the bookstore. I love to write and to read, but I discovered that yearning for more of God was the only answer to my soul’s longing.
Many of us have things in our lives that we turn to during those times when we feel a little more empty inside than usual. For me, browsing the books was one of those activities.
God does speak to us in many ways, such as through a beautiful sunset, art, words and even titles of books, but these things cannot replace pure fellowship with Him and the way this connection satisfies our hearts.
Even still, my spirit fluttered today when Jesus spoke to my heart as I browsed, reminding me of all He’s been teaching me. First and foremost, it is my Father God who I need and long for deeper communion with.
All of our longings point to Him. The ultimate root of every desire is our need for God and through close-knit moments spent with in His presence. If we will allow God a moment to shed light on this truth, we will find it always true. He uses the beauty of nature, relationships with others, the hobbies we enjoy, and much more; but ultimately, without Him, these things leave us still unsatisfied, for only He can satisfy us completely.
We must learn to cultivate an awareness of His presence with us in every moment and yet also set aside focused time to have conversation with Him and encounter Him in His Word. (Brother Lawrence, who wrote a short and very excellent book on the subject, called this “Practicing the Presence of God”, which is also the book’s title).
[A Note of Clarification: We must come to the Father through His Son, Jesus. This truth holds together all that I write: I am a Christian. I believe Jesus is the only way to the Father; Christ’s sacrifice, believing He is the Son of God and making Him Lord of our lives. Salvation is not on our terms, but His; nonetheless, He is no forceful tyrant, He is Love and He tells us that He will not go against our free choice, but we must choose Him.) For starters, see Romans 10:9-11, John 14:6, Matthew 22:37-39.]
Intimacy is an every day, every moment endeavor. Just as in other relationships, such as that of a husband and wife, it comes in grand moments of love and life shared in the big, and it comes in the tiny droplets of joy shared in a momentary glance or smile. It comes as we give love through a gesture of kindness and service to another, and also comes as we support one another in times of trial and hardship.
This too is how I think God longs for us to live–walking through life always connected to Him, and I long to live this out. To walk through each day with joy instead of stress, gratefulness instead of fear, and meekness instead of frustration… and above all, to be intimately connected to God in every moment of every day and night.
I want to be so aware of Father God that I am filled with His love and the knowing of His presence dwelling in me by His Holy Spirit. I want to be “devoured” by the One who loves me so immensely that even through eternity I will never fully comprehend Love’s depths. I want to get lost in Christ so fully that I think nothing of myself and all of Him and what is on His mind and feeling what is on His heart. “More of Him, less of me” (John 3:30).
Father God, however possible this is on this side of eternity, please bring me to this place with You.
For Christ is all, and in all… and by Him and for Him and through Him all was made, and in Him all things consist and are held together. Jesus is THE Way, the ONLY Way! May He have the preeminence – it’s all about Him! Loving Him and knowing Him! (See John 14:6, Colossians 1:16-17).