Friday, 28 August 2015

A deep yearning

"You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your might" - Deuteronomy 6.5

This is the last of my Summer blogs, and I was unsure of what to do, until I came across this verse.

For the last few years, I have been mulling over the word yearning. It is very similar to the word mourning, since both speak of the pain that comes from something being absent and yet they are very different. With mourning the pain is of losing something we love - it looks back; yearning though is the pain of waiting for something for which we long. The first is like the child who has lost their teddy bear, the second like the one opening the first door of their advent calendar. If mourning is the pain of loss; yearning is the pain of hope. It pulls the heart forward - the heart stretches out for it. Yearning therefore is a fundamentally Christian experience.

One of the experiences that produces yearning is suffering. I love Don Carson's comment that suffering can give us a homesickness for heaven. It is that proper response to a world damaged by rebellion against God. Indeed that world itself waits with eager expectation for the revealing of the children of God. Likewise, we too groan inwardly as we wait eagerly for our adoption as sons, the redemption of our bodies (Romans 8.18-25)

It is also my experience in my struggle with sin. I read Deuteronomy 6.5 and I so long for it to be true of me - that I should be wholeheartedly committed to God - just as Jesus was and is. It is also my deep prayer for the church I love in Wallington - that we might truly begin to live like this - to stop paddling around in the shallows of worship and service and to give ourselves wholly and unreservedly to him. That our smallest acts of service might be marked by such a joy and a zeal as we seek to serve those who are lost.

And so I find that my heart goes through the stages of yearning: grief that I am so far off; a longing that my heart should change more quickly; a deeper excitement that one day I will truly live like this. That one day I will see the Lord Jesus face to face and that he would use that vision of him to change me from glory into glory.

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