In sum of last week, in the difference between the eternity set in our hearts and the reality of a broken world around us arises longing. Beauty awakens longing because it calls out to us about that which is true about us but not yet fully realized. BUT…there is more.
The longing that God has written into our hearts is not only telling us about who we are and where we belong. It’s also telling us about Him. For most people talking about heaven and the New Jerusalem evokes pictures of sitting on a cloud playing a harp…forever. Thrilling. Those pictures are often the result of a lack of an experiential knowledge (revelation) of God and the beauty of who He. The truth that the longing in our hearts is telling us about God is that He has longing in His heart…for YOU. You have probably heard that there is a God-shaped hole in all our hearts. But have you ever considered that there’s a God-shaped hole in your heart because He has a you-shaped hole in His heart. God has allowed there to be a hole in His heart that can only be satisfied by the love that you can give Him. In fact I would say that the Bible, from beginning to end, is the story of the furious longing of God’s heart to be with people. Think about it for a second,
- In the garden of Eden, God walked with man in the cool of the evening.
- When this communion was broken by man’s rebellion, God set in motion His plan to bring restoration of fellowship through Jesus Christ. This was His plan from the very beginning of creation. (Revelation 13:8)
- When God brought His people out of captivity in Egypt, the first thing He did was take Moses up a mountain and command him to build a tabernacle that He might dwell amongst them again.
- When God brought the Israelites out of exile in Babylon the first thing He commanded them was to rebuild the temple that He might dwell again with His people. As the years passed and people gained prosperity for themselves and the temple remained unbuilt, God rebuked them through the prophet Haggai (chapter 1:4), “Is it a time for you yourselves to dwell in your panelled houses, while this house [the temple] lies in ruins?”
- In John 17:24, just before Jesus goes to the cross He looks heavenward and cries out: “Father, I desire that they also whom Yuu gave Me may be with Me wher I am…”
Again and again, [obvious in every book of the Bible] the desire of God is this: I want to dwell with my people! I want to walk among them and be with them! I desire them to voluntarily return the same fiery passionate, wholehearted love that I have for them.
Can you imagine it, have you perceived it? The God of the universe who sits on the throne of heaven, ruling forever and ever desires to be with YOU. He wants you, all of you. All of heaven, the four living creatures, the 24 elders and thousands upon thousands of angels cry out, day and night, “Holy, holy, holy,” and the God who deserves and receives all of this unceasing worship, who is beautiful beyond human description is lovesick for your heart to be fully His. No, this is not some small desire in a corner of God’s great heart crowded out by a myriad of other thoughts and pressing business. This is what is on His mind day and night. ‘How precious are your thoughts to me, O God! How vast is the sum of them! Were I to count them, they would outnumber the grains of sand on the seashore.’ (Psalm 139:17, 18)
Now this is a wonderful theory but if it stays as a theory only it’s not worth that much. Rather, by the Holy Spirit through meditation on the Word and prayer, it is actually possible to feel this longing of God for us (Ephesians 1:16-19). God still loves me when I don’t feel it but when I do feel it, even just a little, there is an explosion of love in my heart back towards Him. In that encounter with God comes the power to radical obedience (Matthew 5:48).