Saturday, November 26, 2016

A Longing Fulfilled

No matter how successful your life is, there is always that feeling inside that there should be more. That is because it’s true; there is more. We are born with longings, and we live to see them fulfilled.
C.S. Lewis insightfully wrote this, “Most people, if they had really learned to look into their own hearts, would know that they do want, and want acutely, something that cannot be had in this world. There are all sorts of things in this world that offer to give it to you, but they never quite keep their promise. The longings which arise in us when we first fall in love, or first think of some foreign country, or first take up some subject that excites us, are longings which no marriage, no travel, no learning, can really satisfy.”

Our creator God has put inside each of us a longing for him and to be with him. Sadly, we often turn away the one who can and will satisfy our longings. Jesus once said this about the people of Jerusalem that he loved, “how often I have longed to gather your children together, as a hen gathers her chicks under her wings, but you were not willing!” (Luke 13:34). Those happen to be some of the saddest words in the Bible. They are much like these from the book of Hosea where the prophet describes the stubbornness of Israel and says all that is left is to “leave him alone!” (Hosea 4:17).

Jesus longs to take us in his arms and comfort us. As a hen gathers her chicks under wings to protect them from the approaching storm, so our Lord will shelter us from our deepest fears and anxieties. The question is are we willing? We know Jesus is willing to meet our needs if we will only turn to him. Our deepest longings are for him and for a place not to be found on this earth. We long for heaven and for God’s presence. C.S. Lewis continues driving the point home:

"Creatures are not born with desires unless satisfaction for those desires exists. A baby feels hunger: well, there is such a thing as food. A duckling wants to swim: well, there is such a thing as water. Men feel sexual desire: well, there is such a thing as sex. If I find in myself a desire which no experience in this world can satisfy, the most probable explanation is that I was made for another world. If none of my earthly pleasures satisfy it, that does not prove that the universe is a fraud. Probably earthly pleasures were never meant to satisfy it, but only to arouse it, to suggest the real thing. If that is so, I must take care, on the one hand, never to despise, or be un­thankful for, these earthly blessings, and on the other, never to mistake them for the something else of which they are only a kind of copy, or echo, or mirage. I must keep alive in myself the desire for my true country, which I shall not find till after death; I must never let it get snowed under or turned aside; I must make it the main object of life to press on to that other country and to help others to do the same."[i]

[i] C.S. Lewis, Mere Christianity, MacMillian Publishing, New York, 1943, pp. 119-120.

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