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So, in that situation — lover away from beloved — that longing, that “pining away,” as my mother used to say, is not abnormal or wrong.

But it is dangerous.  Ask any soldier who has gone away to war and received a “Dear John” letter.  If love is not genuinely strong, absence can destroy a relationship.

There are differences, though, in this entire “Lover – Beloved” analogy.

Jesus said that it was beneficial for us that he went away.  In our analogy, how can it be good that the Beloved goes away? (I’m trying to reconcile some beliefs, to bring fuzzy logic into focus, and I’m really unable to do it justice.  Wiser men than me have lost their way at this point.)

Dutiful, faithful activity only serves to deaden the heart’s pain.  It would be easier to just give in and do our Christian duty, but the truth is that this emptiness, this longing, is normal to the lover’s life.  Away from our beloved we naturally feel a longing, a desire, an emptiness.  The only way I want that desire, that longing, to go away is when my Lover returns to take me into his presence as his own.

I long for the same companionship that Adam and Eve experienced in the garden while walking with YHWH.  This is what Jesus came to restore.  Now he has gone away to prepare a place for us, and one day he will return and claim us for his own.  And that day is what I long for, and that longing is the source of my discontent.

August 2017
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