Pilgrim Road Blog Photo

Pilgrim Road Blog Photo

Tuesday, July 21, 2015

Mick Jagger, Jonathan Edwards, and The Great Longing

It sounds cliche in a way, but it's true: I can't get no satisfaction.  Thank you, Mick Jagger.

I read a friend's comment..."I have everything I want".  And I wonder at that life.  Because that has never been me, and I don't think it will ever be me.  It's lovely, but it leaves me scratching my increasingly threadbare head.  I most assuredly don't have everything I want.

I have stepped into the river of God, and the deeps keep calling.  Despite the hindrances of my own addiction to safety and pleasure, it cannot be shaken.  The holy discontent remains, and I think it will till I die.

The mystics reach far for the presence of the Holy in the land of the living, but even they in their enviable nearness to the One, admit they have barely scratched the surface of the eternal. Even they, the world's great seekers, admit to The Great Longing.

Satisfied?  No.  Content? Sometimes, but always with the longing for more beauty, more purity, more saturation of grace.

This is not the dissatisfaction of not having, but of not being.  Not being what we're made for...perfect union, perfect love, perfect freedom. To be poured out and poured in freely to the unique mold for which I was born, to truly know Jesus Christ - this is the yearning and passion that will not be quieted by all the delights earth can offer.  I would no more trade even the longing for God Himself, as weak and broken as it is by my own sin and folly, than I would sell my first born for all the gold in the world.

If the longing is that magnificent, how earth-shatteringly joyful will the fulfillment of that longing be?

Listen to Jonathan Edwards:

“God is the highest good of the reasonable creature. The enjoyment of him is our proper; and is the only happiness with which our souls can be satisfied. To go to heaven, fully to enjoy God, is infinitely better than the most pleasant accommodations here. Better than fathers and mothers, husbands, wives, or children, or the company of any, or all earthly friends. These are but shadows; but the enjoyment of God is the substance. These are but scattered beams; but God is the sun. These are but streams; but God is the fountain. These are but drops, but God is the ocean.” 

I love so much on this earth - my children laughing, the glorious changes of my crab apple tree, the overwhelming fresh vastness of the great Atlantic, and so, so much more.

But they are "but scattered beams".  God is the sun.  

Some of you reading this are dissatisfied.  There's a good kind and a bad kind of dissatisfaction.  The good kind is a thirst, but a grateful thirst. It drives you to the River of Life.  The bad kind often comes when you have plenty of the world's blessings, and you're satisfied with a spiritual cup that's dry. As my kids would say "that's the worst...".

As always, I write from a place of far too much understanding of getting it wrong.  Still, it's the grace of Christ that won't let His beloveds get true joy from any other source but Himself.  And it's that very grace that keeps me asking for more, and keeps me in that good kind of dissatisfaction that won't settle for the best of earth without the best of heaven.

We'll get our total satisfaction come one of these days... I'll be able to say with my dear friend, "I have everything I want".  I'll do all I can to bring the kingdom of God to this planet, to bring "up there down here" as John Ortberg says as an ongoing life theme. But this life is a vapor, and I'm not ashamed to say that I'm going for something a lot more solid and lasting.  Then we will step out of the shadows, into the substance.  In the meantime, I'm content to be discontented.  I'm grateful for grace that makes me see "these are but drops, but God is the ocean."

Your friend on the pilgrim road,


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