Have you ever longed for something? I don’t mean just wishing, but a desperate longing. My sister-in-law is a grandma to two beautiful girls whom she hasn’t been able to see for over a year now due to covid. She can see them on the computer screen, but she longs for that personal contact that can only be had by being with them in person.
When my sister died, I longed for heaven because she was there. Then I felt convicted that I hadn’t been longing for heaven because Jesus was there. Now I long for His coming. Not just to escape from this world and its troubles, but to enjoy His presence forever.
Do you ever long to experience God’s presence in a real way here and now? Have you ever read The Practice of the Presence of God by Brother Lawrence? In it the 17th century friar writes out conversations with God in order to encourage a practice of recognizing the Lord’s presence continually. That takes practice and discipline.
I am presently reading Reaching for the Invisible God by Philip Yancey. It’s really deep. It makes me think. Here’s an example: I now hear the phrase “practicing the presence of God” in a different way. Previously I sought an emotional confirmation that God is actually there. Sometimes I have that sense, sometimes I do not. I have changed the emphasis, though, to one of putting myself in God’s presence. I assume God is present all around me, though undetectable by my senses, and strive to conduct my daily life in a way appropriate to God’s presence.
Yancey quotes from Meister Eckhart: The soul must long for God in order to be set aflame by God’s love, but if the soul cannot yet feel this longing, then it must long for the longing. To long for the longing is also from God.
The Psalmist said, “My soul longs, yes, even faints for the courts of the Lord; my heart and my flesh cry out for the living God.” That’s describing a real hunger and thirst for God. Only He can satisfy it. No earthly person, no material goods, no experience, no matter how great, can compare with communion with God. Psalm 107:9 says, “For he satisfies the longing soul, and the hungry soul he fills with good things.”
Are you hungry? Thirsty? Longing for the living God? If you are His child, He is with you always. Have you taken time to recognize His presence?