Tuesday, January 22, 2008

The Hard Way to Cultivate Desire

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.

Join Debbie at Chocolate and Coffee for more In "Other" Words posts.


MiPa said...

"He would rather stir our spirits, however hard it may be, than let us flounder in complacency and miss Him." Oooh, amen! Bless you for sharing.

twinklemom said...

Beautiful post!

It's difficult to think that sometimes it takes pain and loss to stir our eyes back to Him and I often wonder the pain and loss He feels when He finds He has to use that to get our attention.

God is an awesome God and a loving God and wants us to have good and better lives.

He is so wonderful and patient that when we put the t.v., the bestseller books, our lives, our cellphones, everything before Him,rather than give up on us and walk off, He just patiently waits for us to remember Him...

You have such a beautiful and touching post to remind us that God doesn't want us to drift away.

ellen b. said...

Pain has a way of interrupting our complacency for sure. I understand this but still want my desire for Him to not have to be about pain, yet we are told to take up our cross and follow Him :) Blessings on you...

Living Beyond said...

Wow - it is so true Tammi - God often works in the midst of pain - it's that whole refining in the fire of the furnace that brings about the pain and humbling of our souls to show us that life rally is all about Him - it really is all about a preparation for eternity. Never easy - but powerful if we can grasp what He is trying to teach us.

Thank you!

BTW I gave you an award at my blog - please come visit.

Heather@Mommymonk said...

I was just reading Oswald Chambers this morning and he said something similar. When we have only blessings, we do not turn to Him, but with pain (or struggles), we are reminded of how desperately we need Him.

Anonymous said...

The times that I have grown the most are undoubtedly the painful times. Many times it is a result of some unwise decision I have made. Many times, too, its been from a place of complacency. I'm sure I'm not the only one in this boat.

Your post made me think. Its different from the others that I've read in IOW today. Pain is a place that makes us long for Him if we let it. God uses it, as much as we dislike it at the time, to shape us into who He wants us to be.

Thanks Tammy! You have a great insight here!

Susan said...

Great post Tami! I'm just so blessed our paths have crossed.

Your writing touches me deeply.

"He would rather stir our spirits, however hard it may be, than let us flounder in complacency and miss Him."

I'm so blessed he does stir us up, and like a loving father who disciplines the son he loves, I'm so glad he does.

Blessings to you my friend.

Debbie @ Chocolate and Coffee said...

Many times we grow so much in the Lord when we are treading water in the valley. This was an awesome post.


Rachelle said...

Pain, its not a waste. Such a strong statement. Never really thought of it that way. Great post.