Living in the tension of unfulfilled desires

rubber band tensionJust what are desires, anyhow?  My friend Noah Webster says:

  •                           * Deep longings, earnest desires.
  •                           * Natural longings for that which is excited by enjoyment or thought.
  •                           * Eager wishes to obtain and enjoy.

(Was Noah W. really my friend?  Well, he would have been if he had lived long enough.  Meanwhile, I certainly appreciate his efforts to make words more understandable.)

Desire for deep relationship was planted in the human heart by God at creation.  Right from the beginning God says, “It is not good for man to be alone.”  It’s interesting to note that before Eve, Adam had total access to God Himself.  We know they spoke together, and walked together “in the cool of the day.”  (Genesis 2:16; 3:8)  However, in light of this incredible relationship with Himself, God saw Adam needed something else – a counterpart, Eve.  Obviously, if Adam and Eve had not become a family, we would not be here.  The emphasis for us, however, is that God is a relational God, and He made us to be a relational people.  I find it very interesting to note that God did not fill that desire in Adam’s heart with Himself – but with Eve.

I fear that too often this phrase, “It’s not good for man to be alone,” is at times taken as “It’s not good for man to be unmarried,” becoming a sort of promise of marriage to all who desire it!  At least, it is a verse which was often quoted to me as I shared the desire of my heart for a Godly marriage.  For years, I expressed my deep disappointment to God for what I thought was His total disregard for my feelings – the sort of desires of the heart David talked about in Psalm 37:4.

As the years stretched by, I let God know I thought He was toying with my affections.  Someone gave me an illustration of a hungry dog jumping and jumping and jumping for a tasty morsel held just out of his reach.  He finally gave up and lay down – still hungry.  I knew that my comparison of God to the one who was holding the dog treat was exactly how I was picturing God.  And, I also knew that this was untrue, no matter how strong my feelings were.  Soul ache, physical desire, and spiritual truth were on a collision course.

Then came the day when I began to understand that the desire for intimate relationship is a God-given gift and is meant to be an arrow pointing us to Him.  For some, this includes marriage.  For some, it does not.  But, God’s will for married AND unmarried folks is that we “Love God with all our heart, soul, and mind, and love our neighbor as ourselves.”  (Matthew 22:37-39)

*  The desire for intimate relationship is God-given:

  •                      – Emotional and physical desires fall under the larger umbrella of intimacy.
  •                      – Intimacy falls under the larger umbrella of relationship.
  •                      – Relationship falls under the larger umbrella of God.
  •                      – Every relationship is an opportunity to model God’s love.
  •                      – Desire for relationship is a longing for eternity!

OK.  That’s the spiritual language.  Now, what do I do with the physical and emotional desires for a husband?  I’m still working on that.  I used to pray that if I am never to marry, God would remove the desires because they were just too painful a reminder of what was not in my life.  He may do that for some, but He certainly did not do that for me.  I finally came to thank God for the very desires which brought pain, because they were a reflection of His creation in me.  They were indications that my heart and soul and body were responding as He meant them to.  I just needed to figure out how to find joy in the “lacks.”

The mind plays a huge part in taking the lead in maneuvering through life.  There are many times when I have not acted rightly in imagination and in what my eyes have seen and my ears have heard.  My longings and desires have often morphed into yearnings, distress, despair, grief, and mourning for unmet wants.  The Psalms have long been my go-to patterns for talking to God.  Somehow, David and the other Psalmists gained an intimate knowing of God which included love, joy, peace – and distress, grief, and anger.  They discussed everything with Him without trying to make their words sound more religious and respectful.  They were transparent in their expression.  I decided I wanted that sort of transparency before the Lord.  I’m still working on that – for the rest of my life!

How about you?  I welcome your comments.  So far, I’ve gotten a ton of spam which fortunately WordPress identifies so I can delete it.  I can assure you I will do a lot of jumping for joy at real comments.  🙂

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