A Confession of Longing
- Thursday, May 29, 2008
A confession of longing does not indicate a lack of faith. I will say it again. A confession of longing does not indicate a lack of faith. It is simply honesty.
Many of us who are single encounter this accusation in speaking with those who have forgotten their time of trial—if they knew a time of trial. It is as though to suffer in silence is more noble, to live with pretence more spiritual, and to smile through the pain more righteous. I smile through the pain. I give and love and serve—but I am also honest.
We are allowed to confess our pain and our sorrow in the same way that David cried, “How long, O LORD? Will you forget me forever? How long will you hide your face from me” (Psa. 13:1)? God is not hiding His face. We know this. As His children, as His beloved Church, bought at the price of His Son, we are His treasure. He is ever attentive to our needs and there is an emptiness that is best expressed in honest words to the One who cares.
We are allowed to admit that life has not turned out as we planned. We are allowed to do this because God is not afraid of our honesty and He cares. In fact, it is this very honesty that allows the body of Christ to shed the accusation of hypocrisy. What misery to have neither spouse nor fellowship with believers. What misery to be unable to admit the “blessing of singleness” at times feels more like a curse.
We are not a people free of pain and sorrow, free of longing and desire, and we need not pretend otherwise. To be unable to admit where it hurts is sometimes more troubling than the pain itself. We confess our need, our longing and we end our prayer as David ended his, “But I trust in your unfailing love; my heart rejoices in your salvation. I will sing to the LORD, for he has been good to me.” (Psa. 13:5-6). He has been very good to me.
A while ago I wrote what I imagined as my conversation with God.
At Last Honesty
God: “What’s the matter?
Me: “I’m lonely!”
God: “I know! Don’t you think I know that?”
Me: “Yes Lord.”
God: “Then what’s the problem?”
Me: “I’m lonely.”
God: “What do you want?”
Me: (Repressing the honest answer I speak:) “I want what you want Lord.”
God: “You have it.”
Me: (dead silence)
God: “Something is still bothering you. What is it?”
Me: “I’m alone.”
God: “Why is that a problem?”
Me: “I’m not happy.”
God: “And why not?”
Me: “I don’t want to be alone.”
God: “You said you wanted what I wanted.”
Me: “Yes Lord.”
God: “You have it.”
God: “Isn’t that what you wanted?”
Me: (at last honesty) “No Lord.”
God: “Then you do not want what I want?”
Me: “I do, but I also want to be married. I also want what I want.”
God: “The problem is not your desire to be married. That is a good desire.
The problem is that you expect that I should give you
what you want when you want and how you want.
If a sparrow does not fall without my knowledge...
If I dress the lilies in such splendor...
If I cloth the grass of the field which so quickly withers...
Do you imagine I have forgotten you...my beloved?
I have not forgotten you...do not worry.
God: “You are still troubled...why?”
Me: “I’m lonely.”
God: (gently) “I know.”
The heart finds comfort in silence. He knows and my confession of longing does not disturb Him. He knows and cares.
A confession of longing does not indicate a lack of faith but it may. Within our longing sin may fester and, like children, we may stomp our feet, clench our fist, and demand what we want NOW! What we really want to know is that we are not alone, not forgotten; that we can trust God to bless us. What we really want to know is that despite the cloud of unknowing that smothers us there is a loving and knowing God who has not forsaken His children. Even more, we want to know that He has not simply blessed our friends and cursed us; that even here and now—He loves us. He loves us!
A confession of longing does not indicate a lack of faith but it may. Growing and maturing mean that we look past the moment, past the now, and consider that reality is neither singular nor local. We are part of a grand scheme. I do not pretend to understand it all or some of it—but I know whom I serve. I know He loves me. I know He is working all things together for the good of THOSE who love Him; ALL those who love Him. I have no clue why my longing is unfulfilled but one thing I d
“Forgetting what is behind and straining toward what is ahead, I press on toward the goal to win the prize for which God has called me heavenward in Christ Jesus. All of us who are mature should take such a view of things. And if on some point you think differently, that too God will make clear to you (Phil. 3:13-15).”
In our confession of longing we must maintain our faith. Yes, I pursue relationships and act in boldness when I am moved but my working will never make for me a wife. I doubt that while I sleep tonight God will remove a rib and bring me a wife. Rather, I find peace in trusting Him whom is love to love me the way He sees fit and this brings me peace. I strive to be the man HE wants me to be in order to please Him.
I will work diligently to know a woman and to love a wife someday but I cannot manufacture nor speed this process. Believe me, I have tried. That He loves me, that He cares, that He is working on my behalf is my peace. This is my pillow and firm, warm, bed. It is my waking comfort and my daily salve. I am lonely but, “I will sing to the LORD, for he has been good to me.”
Ps. 20:4, Ps. 40:8, Ps. 69:5, Ps. 139:1, Ps. 139:2, Prov. 24:26, Isa. 49:15, Luke 12:27-28,
A Returned Blessing
I have not received a million responses as some of you suspected, but I have received many encouragements from writing “A Longing Like Starvation." The continuous echo is “I thought I was alone.” You are not alone. We struggle together and rise together. It seems that my words comforted many and in turn—I received a returned blessing. God is good. I have been working on a book, and you have each given me more incentive to seek publication. Pray along those lines. From your response, I believe it will be a service to the body.
Hudson Russell Davis was born on a small Island in the West Indies called Dominica, and this is only one reason he does not like cold weather and loves guava. He is a graduate of James Madison University with a B.A. in Graphic Design and earned a Masters in Theology from Dallas Theological Seminary. Currently he is a Ph.D. candidate at Saint Louis University studying historical theology. Hudson has worked as a graphic artist and worship leader but expresses himself through poetry, prose, photography, and music. His activities are just about anything outdoors, but tennis is his current passion.
Got feedback? Send your comments and questions to Hudson at firstname.lastname@example.org. If you don't hear back within a few days' time, please try again. Hudson would like to respond to all reader feedback.
**This article first published on May 29, 2008.
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