I sat among strangers at a funeral for a 17-year-old boy and felt connected by one word, never uttered.
The fog of shock, sadness, confusion and fear hovered in the room.
Suddenly, so many things didn't matter any more. My weight or time management or messy closets didn't seem like problems. I doubt the rows of teenagers cared who started in the basketball game or if their biology teacher was a jerk or that they couldn't go out on Saturday night. A "C" in geometry or a messy bedroom didn't seem so important to their parents either.
And though it went unspoken, a common longing nagged at the spirit of us all. This can't be all there is, this life. There MUST be more. There HAS to be more.
Because apart from God, pain makes no sense. It has no purpose. It's only pain. There are no silver linings to our dark clouds if we can't trust a higher power to make something good out of them.
At the end of a really bad day I think, "Oh, God, why do You keep us here? Can't You take us away from all this? Why must we do this?" And I long for more than the earth offers.
"I want deliberately to encourage this mighty longing after God. The lack of it has brought us to our present low estate. The stiff and wooden quality about our religious lives is a result of our lack of holy desire. Complacency is a deadly foe of all spiritual growth. Acute desire must be present or there will be no manifestation of Christ to His people. He waits to be wanted. Too bad that with many of us He waits for long, so very long, in vain."
I don't like the idea that it may take pain to spawn desire for God, yet I recognize His mercy in it. He would rather stir our spirits, however hard it may be, than let us flounder in complacency and miss Him. Our part in encouraging this longing is to allow ourselves to feel our pain, letting the disappointments and heartaches and tragedies sink into our souls deep enough that we yearn for something better, Someone better. If we ignore it or push it away, we sweep away our need for rescue as well.
Pain. It's not pleasant or welcome, but if it cultivates in us a need for Him, it's definitely not a waste.
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