That Inconsolable Longing: Where to Go When Nothing Satisfies
- Cindi McMenamin Author
- 2011 7 Jul
With tears in her eyes, Janie recounted the last thing her husband told her before she left the house for the weekend. “He said ‘When you figure out how I can meet all your emotional needs, let me know.’”
His comment cut deep into her heart. And it still hurt. I could tell.
I’ve been where Janie is. And in many ways, I still live there.
Janie didn’t have an insensitive husband. Janie was just, like many of us, expecting him to be her all in all. And he, like any man, isn’t God. And therefore he wasn’t up to the task.
As I reflected on Janie’s comment, my mind raced over my relationships…my husband of 23 years, my dating years in college, my loneliness as a teenager. And I was brought back to the Only One who has been faithful throughout the years of my life and throughout generations.
As long as I am hoping for lasting fulfillment through the intimacy I can reach with a person on this earth, I will be disappointed. All are merely human. All are mortal. All have sinned. And all will let me down at one time or another. Whether it’s a parent, a husband, a man you are dating, a friend – all will let you down, too. I am realizing, more and more as I get older and wiser, that my prayer must be like the Psalmist’s: “Whom have I in Heaven but You? And earth has nothing I desire besides you.”
I first copied that verse from Psalms 73:25 onto a note card and put it on my refrigerator more than 10 years ago. I was comforted by the truth that I have an Advocate in Heaven. And He is mine.
Who do I have but You, God? It is more than a question or even a statement. It is a motto. And I have reminded myself to live by that motto ever since.
As I have counseled women through the years, I have encouraged them to look to God as the Only One who can meet all of their needs. It is not only practical, it is essential for our survival, as we often let emotion dictate our moods, attitudes. and our perceived well being.
Only You, Lord, are perfect. Only You are incapable of disappointing me. Only You can satisfy. And only You can know me intimately
In his book The Journey of Desire, Author John Eldredge says “There is an aloneness, an incompleteness that we experience every day of our lives. How often do you feel deeply and truly known? Is there another soul to whom a simple glance is all that is necessary to communicate depth of understanding? Do you have someone with whom you can commune in love? This is our inconsolable longing – to know and to be known.”
Yet the longing is consolable – in Christ alone.
When I focus on my inconsolable longing it can tear me up at times. I will never be completely known and understood by my husband, my child, my closest friend. But I am known to God. My inconsolable longing on this earth increases my yearning for Heaven. For true oneness and intimacy. For my “happily ever after” with my One True Love.
To whom do you go when nothing else and no one else will satisfy? Where do you take those longings that remain unmet? There is One in Heaven waiting to fill the inconsolable longing in your heart as well. And as you pursue a path to knowing Him more deeply and communing with Him more intimately, you will see that He does, indeed, fill that inconsolable longing in your heart.
How can you pursue a more intimate relationship with God? By following the basics:Tell Him First – Whatever is on your heart and mind, go to God first about it. Sure, He already knows about it, but when you tell God first you are reaffirming to Him and to yourself that He is the most important one in your life.
Take Him Seriously – Get into God’s Word and get to know what He loves (look up every verse on “love” in your Bible) and cling to it and know what He hates (Proverbs 6:16-19 is pretty clear about it) and avoid it at all costs. Every relationship takes two. God has clearly extended toward us in His Word. We can extend back by knowing all there is to know about Him, through His Word, and taking Him seriously when He says things like “If you love Me you will keep My commandments” (John 14:15) and “There are six things the Lord hates…” (Proverbs 6:16-19).
Trust Him Fully – There are things that will happen in life that you will not understand. But to love God perfectly is to trust Him completely and to know that no matter what happens, He is still God and He is still good. 1 John 4:18 tells us “There is no fear in love. But perfect love (for God) drives out fear (of our circumstances)….” Every relationship is about trust. How much do you really trust Him?
As you begin to tell God first, take Him seriously, and trust Him fully, may you, too, be able to say as the Psalmist did: “Whom have I in heaven but you? And earth has nothing I desire besides you.”
Cindi McMenamin is a national speaker and the author of several books including When Women Walk Alone (more than 100,000 copies sold) Women on the Edge and When a Woman Inspires Her Husband. For more on strengthening your relationship with God or for some of her free resources, see www.StrengthForTheSoul.com.