“God arouses the longing in us that he wants to still. Therefore, the faintest longing must be carefully nursed. If we let ourselves be filled with the Holy Spirit, there will be no lack of thirst, nor will our prayer lack focus. Do not dampen the Spirit! Do not turn your thoughts to other things!”
from The Prayer God Answers by Eberhard Arnold and Richard J. Foster; Plough Publishing House, Walden, New York, 2016; Page 24.
Do you feel this longing, placed by God, deep within your soul? Even faintly do you feel it?
It’s there. If you don’t notice it, then you haven’t, as Arnold says above, “nursed” it to grow and mature within you so that it can be felt.
It does involve the Spirit’s work of indwelling, so every disciple of Jesus has God’s implanted longing within her or his spirit. It also involves the Spirit’s work of filling, that, when allowed to more control our lives, reveals and increases the depth of the God-placed-longing deep within our souls.
I can hear this implanted longing in the disciples’ words, “Lord, teach us to pray.” Yet I sense it just as clearly in Peter’s tears when the rooster crowed after his third and cursing denial of his Master. Peter realized he’d not only denied his Lord, but the Father’s deep longing placed within him.
It can be seen in Daniel’s purpose — “Daniel purposed in his heart not to defile himself with the king’s food;” and in Isaiah’s accepting words, “Here I am. Send me.” They didn’t understand it fully. They simply knew their life was God’s and longed for nothing to get in the way of their relationship with Him.
Indeed, the Bible is full of women and men of God who are nursing the longing placed by God.
Yet whose longing is it? It is not our own. We cannot create a longing within us. Something must create it within us.
Is that longing deep within us, the very longing of God Himself? I think it is. Look at some evidence.
I hear God’s longing in Jesus words, “Come to me all who are weary and heavy laden, and I will give you rest…”
Again I read of our Lord’s own longing for us in His words from John’s Gospel, “Let anyone who is thirsty come to me and drink. Whoever believes in me, as Scripture has said, rivers of living water will flow from within them” (John 7:37-38).
Do you hear them from the Father and Jesus in John 3:16-17 — “For God so loved the world, that He gave His only begotten Son, that whoever believes in Him shall not perish, but have eternal life. For God did not send the Son into the world to judge the world, but that the world might be saved through Him?”
I believe it is absolutely true – the longing of God for us has been placed in us by God for Himself – and nothing, utterly nothing, will satisfy that longing but knowing Him, experiencing Him, loving Him, and serving Him.
Saint Augustine spoke of it most clearly I believe in this words…
“You have made us for yourself, O Lord, and our hearts are restless until they rest in you.”
Will you cultivate this longing? Or will you let the weeds of life grow up around it, making it an unnoticeable reality in your life?