Is It Wrong to Have Longings?
“My soul is consumed with longing for your laws at all times.” Psalm 119:20
I live in a constant state of longing. I can’t think of a time when I did not long for something. On the outside we try to appear like everything is good because we want to portray that we are content. Isn’t a Christian supposed to be content? Perhaps, we confuse sharing our longings with an expression of discontentment.
In the Psalms David certainly did not say stuff down your longings, instead he lays his heart bare before the Lord on page after page. He does not get it all out in a few pages as we might vent with a friend feeling better for a while. No, he lives his life laying his heart bare before the Lord. His vulnerability and comfort level are shocking when we really think about it. If you had a friend like this, would you not think, she needs to pull it together? God gives us a window into David’s heart and his vulnerable relationship with God in the Psalms. David expresses all the uncomfortable thoughts of pain, sadness, disappointment, and devastation that we hold close. Why might David feel comfortable bearing His longings before the Lord? Our modern mind might first go to his personality type; perhaps, he would be considered an “extravert” and a “feeler” according to the Myers-Briggs personality test. There was no Myers-Briggs back then.
What could be another reason that he felt comfortable expressing his longings to the Lord? 2 Corinthians 5:1-5 and Genesis 1 give us a hint. God created us in His Image and likeness. We were made to long for our heavenly bodies, the world to be made right, and heaven to come down to Earth. We were made to long for perfection, but because sin entered the world our longings can go askew causing us to long for plastic and unattainable perfection or things in this world that can never satisfy. Our longings for wholeness, beauty, and perfection are found in God and His kingdom to come.
Some longings are birthed out of discontentment with our lives; particularly not measuring up to worldly standards while other longings are birthed out of godly desires. It can be hard to discern at times what longings come from God. That is where the Word of God is the resource for finding wisdom regarding what longings come from Him. We see the longings for justice, mercy, freedom, healing, marriage, children, and wisdom and understanding throughout the Bible.
What about when a good desire such as marriage, children, or healing continues to be unfulfilled? I have found comfort and peace while I believe that God hears my longings for marriage and children. He is always working His plans through me for my good and the good of this world. Whether He fulfills my longings or yours, we know that He will give peace, comfort, and joy in the waiting even when it is painful. If He does not fulfill our longing for marriage and children in this life, we know that we are members of God’s family and have spiritual children like the nieces, nephews, or friend’s children whom we have poured love into throughout their lifetime. Whether married or unmarried, the unconditional love and companionship we long for no human can fully satisfy as our first Love is and will always be Jesus. We can live longing for the fulfillment of good things in our lives and this world while being present in our current circumstances focusing on the work, friendships and family, and community where God has placed us to be the hands and feet of Jesus.
– Mary Carmen