All of us long for security and a certain level of creature comforts. Sometimes God is pleased to provide far more than we actually need. But sometimes He allows us to "do without"-to experience unfulfilled longings-so that we might come to recognize our need for Him. 

 

In the Old Testament record of Israel's wilderness wanderings, we find a verse that gives us a powerful insight into the ways of God: "He humbled you, causing you to hunger and then feeding you with manna ... to teach you that man does not live on bread alone but on every word that comes from the mouth of the Lord" (Deut. 8:3 NIV). 

 

There are times when God actually causes His children to face hunger and other needs to teach us that our most basic needs are not physical, but spiritual, and that He Himself is the provision for the deepest needs of our hearts.

 

Someone has said, "You will never realize that Christ is all you need until He's all you have. And when He's all you have, you will come to understand that He really is all you need!"

 

Few people in our world are content to live with unfulfilled longings. Everywhere we turn, we are bombarded with advertising that urges us to demand that all of our longings be met-here and now! 

 

The truth is, every human being has deep inner longings that will never be fulfilled this side of heaven. I have never met a man or woman, married or single, who did not have unfulfilled longings. And there is nothing wrong with having those longings. Loneliness, emptiness and need are an inescapable part of life on this fallen planet. Indeed, Paul tells us, the whole creation groans and cries out in travail, waiting for the ultimate, physical redemption of the children of God (Rom. 8:19-23).

 

Part of the purpose of those longings is to cause our hearts to become more detached from this earth and more attached to our true home in heaven. In addition, those longings help us learn that true security cannot be found in people, things, or places. In fact, to look to anything or anyone other than Christ for fulfillment is to be insecure, because everything other than Him is subject to change or can be taken away. 

 

The sin is not in having the longings but in demanding that our longings be met here and now.  Not until we are united with the Lord Jesus in heaven will all our longings be fulfilled and all the empty spaces of our hearts be filled.

 

During my 20s and early 30s, I spent twelve years in full-time, itinerant ministry. I was "on the road" year-round, twelve months a year!  While I loved what I was doing and was grateful for the privilege of ministering the Word of God, I frequently experienced emotional desires for a more settled, "normal" lifestyle. 

 

There were times when the thought of getting on one more airplane, checking into one more hotel, eating in one more restaurant, or greeting one more group of new people seemed unbearable. I often longed for a "nest," a place to call my own. I can remember occasions, alone in a motel room at night, when tears of self-pity would flow down my cheeks.