Shifting Longings

By Tracy Eide

Used by permission. You can read the original blog here

I’m stuck on the first line of the well-known Psalm 23.  “The Lord is my Shepherd, I shall not be in want”.  I am not content to believe those happy watercolor paintings which depict a beautiful, flowery meadow with me as the clean, white, fluffy sheep sitting happily by my Shepherd.  I AM in want.  I long for lots of good things in my life.  I want my back not to hurt; I want to be a better wife and parent; I want to not live so far from loved ones; I wanted all my babies to live; I want people to know the Lord; I want my son to not have learning disabilities; I want my daughters to not have to struggle or suffer; and I want world peace.  We all have wants and longings, but somehow when the Lord is our Shepherd we “shall not be in want”.

Is this “the already and not yet” part of Christianity, where the reality of what Jesus did on the cross is done but we just don’t have it yet?  Well, kind of.  But I think there is more to the ‘already’ than just knowing that things will get better in heaven.  Yes, all of my wants will be filled then.  But crazier still is that we won’t want those things anymore.  Our wants will make a seismic shift.

When we see the face of the Lord and know Him completely and are on our knees in wonder and worship and joy… we will want nothing but HIM.  It will be pure and clean and deep and unhindered.  He will fill completely every distant corner of our souls.  So much so, that we will be able to worship Him for all eternity with everlasting wonder.

Much needs to wait until Heaven, but having Him is not.   God Himself is the ‘already’ part of the deal.  He is not the ‘not yet’ part.  He has given us the Holy Spirit as a mark guaranteeing our inheritance.  The Holy Spirit is God Himself: the all-good, all-wise, all-loving, all-powerful God WITH us.

So how does God Himself in us help when we have to deal with cancer or learning disabilities or a world falling to pieces?  He provides comfort, strength, grace, and peace in the moment, yes.  But if we are wanting HIM instead of what He can give us, longing for His face instead of His Hands – in a poor reflection of how we will in Heaven kind of a way – all of our earthly wants will tend to pale and melt a bit.  We will want what He wants, which even sometimes involves pain, but often draws us deeper with Him.  He Himself is actually found in the deep dark valleys and in the little everyday sufferings of life on this earth.  He is actually the goal – knowing Him – not having a comfortable life. And He is enough – more than enough.

Lord, help us to long for You, because You are the piece of Heaven that we already have.

“When you believed, you were marked in him with a seal, the promised Holy Spirit, who is a deposit guaranteeing our inheritance until the redemption of those who are God’s possession—to the praise of his glory.”  Ephesians 1:13-14