I had finished packing the car to begin our trip home after a week of vacation. I walked down the steep drive to the shining lake for one last look. As I stood there, in the cool morning air, looking out over the placid lake, I felt a longing to just stay. Reluctantly, I turned and trudged back up the hill to the waiting car.
We all experience longings from time to time. Longings for something that we can’t quite put our finger on. C.S. Lewis attached these longings to our pursuit of joy, which seems always to be just out of our reach. We get a taste of it, but as soon as we recognize it and try to hold onto it, it is gone. Lewis tells us that our longings are not fulfilled because what we truly long for is not to be found in this world. What we truly long for is heaven, God’s presence.
While I was on vacation, I finished reading Awe by Paul David Tripp. Tripp writes that we have been created to experience awe and that our awe is intended to point us to God. Everything in creation has been designed to stir up awe within in. This awe is intended to point us to God. Unfortunately, we too often stop short of the goal. We become awed by the things of this world and forget God. The result is that we are never satisfied. All that the things of this world can do is stir up our awe, but they cannot satisfy it. We continually chase experience after experience only to discover that they fall short and leave us unsatisfied.
Both Lewis and Tripp reveal to us that the only way that we can satisfy our longings is to find their fulfillment in God, through Christ Jesus. It is only as we look beyond the tangible object of our awe or longing to the one who stands behind it can we truly find contentment, satisfaction, and fulfillment. King David understood this when he penned the opening lines of Psalm 19.
For the director of music. A psalm of David.
The heavens declare the glory of God;
the skies proclaim the work of his hands.
Day after day they pour forth speech;
night after night they display knowledge.
There is no speech or language
where their voice is not heard.
Their voice goes out into all the earth,
their words to the ends of the world.
We can bury our longings under the weight of our daily routine and responsibilities. We can try to deny our longings or try to satisfy them with temporary substitutes. But our longings will not go away. They are deep seated in our very soul. As Solomon wrote in Ecclesiastes 3:11. He has made everything beautiful in its time. He has also set eternity in the hearts of men; yet they cannot fathom what God has done from beginning to end.
The last day of vacation is always hard. I long for more, but I know that it is time to return to the norm of life; to go back to that which I have been called to do. Still, the longings for something more linger.
"Be still, and know that I am God;
I will be exalted among the nations,
I will be exalted in the earth."