One time I met a young woman in a book store. She was looking at books in the Christian book section. I love going to the bookstore. I gather an armload of books and sit at a table and browse through them. Truth be told I have at times read whole books at the library, oops, I mean, bookstore. It was on one of those days with my armful of books that this young woman, mistook me for someone who worked there, and asked me a question about a book to study the Bible.
She proceeded to tell me how she is beginning to study the Bible and wants to know how to get the most out of it. She has a sincere desire to know God. I offered to help her to study. We exchanged phone numbers and agreed to meet.
Within a week we met and began studying. She has a craving to know God. She expressed her longing to learn as much about God as she possibly could. She wants to see God in a more real way and even, she said, to hear Him.
It is not everyday you meet someone like this girl. Inside myself, I was jumping up and down. I remember when I first began to study the Bible. I took the whole summer off from teaching and read the Bible from Genesis to Revelation. I was mesmerized by the Word. I had never read the Bible before and I was in absolute awe at the God I found in the pages of this book. Do you remember your first days of studying the Bible? Do you remember how eager you were to learn about God? Do you continue to have that eagerness that burning to know God?
Longing for God Looks Like This
Longing is a deep desiring; a yearning after, even a languishing for God. This longing is a yearning, a desperate desire that produces earnest seeking after God; a seeking to be in the presence of God; a seeking to be closely connected to God. The book of Psalms records various descriptions of longing for God.
Longing for God can be so intense it involves the whole body, not just the mind or emotions.
- “You, God, are my God,earnestly I seek you; I thirst for you, my whole being longs for you,
in a dry and parched land where there is no water.” Ps. 63:1
In Ps. 84:2, one can almost see the psalmists whole body engaged in soulful praise to God. It is like watching a singer who is so involved in the words and music of a song that their whole face and body expresses their intensity.
- “My soul longs, yes faints for the courts of the Lord; my heart and flesh sing for joy to the living God.”
At times scripture describes this longing as a hungering or thirsting for God.
- “As the deer pants for streams of water,so my soul pants for you, my God. My soul thirsts for God, for the living God. When can I go and meet with God?” 42:1-2
- “I stretch out my hands to You; my soul longs for You, as a parched land…” Ps. 143:6
Longing includes a desire to be with God; to be close to Him.
- “My soul thirsts for God, for the living God.When can I go and meet with God?” 42:2
- “One thing I ask of the Lord, this is what I seek: that I may dwell in the house of the Lord all the days of my life, to gaze upon the beauty of the Lord and to seek him in his temple” Psalm 27:4
Longing includes desiring to see God in His Word; to know the will of God in order to please Him.
It is unusual to see someone yearning for God, longing to know Him so much that they beg to know the will of God, the commands of God.
- “My soul is consumed with longing for your laws at all times.” Ps. 119:20
- “I open my mouth and pant, because I long for Your commandments.” Ps. 119:131
- “Open my eyes, that I may may behold wonderful things from Your law.” Ps. 119:18
Longing includes a desire to know God, to see Him more clearly.
Moses had a very close walk with God. We read that Moses had the privilege of meeting with God regularly. Moses’ times with God were so real and so personal that he came away with his face glowing, literally (Ex. 34:29, 35). Yet, Moses continued to long to see God, to know him more personally. He even had the boldness to ask God to see His glory.
- “The Lord would speak to Moses face to face, as one speaks to a friend. . . Then Moses said, “Now show me your glory.”And the Lord said, “I will cause all my goodness to pass in front of you, and I will proclaim my name, the Lord, in your presence.” Exodus 33:11, 18-19
Paul was a devout follower of Jesus, he did many great things for God, yet he did not settle in his relationship with God. He continually longed to know God more deeply.
- “What is more, I consider everything a loss because of the surpassing worth of knowing Christ Jesus my Lord, for whose sake I have lost all things. I consider them garbage, that I may gain Christ and be found in him, not having a righteousness of my own that comes from the law, but that which is through faith in Christ—the righteousness that comes from God on the basis of faith.I want to know Christ….” Philippians 3: 8-10
What about Me – What about You
I want to be close to God, but I have to ask myself some hard questions.
– Do I take the time be with God by reading and meditating on His Word?
– Do I clear my mind of the cares of this life so I can pursue knowing God?
– Do I praise and thank God and take time to honor Him?
– Do I cry out to God to see Him to know Him?
– Do I value knowing God more than having anything or being with anyone else in this life?
– Do I radiate to others the light and joy of being with God?
What about you?