I recently read an article about the life of Johnny Depp.
I don’t keep up with the lifestyles of the rich and famous except to mourn when someone who appeared to have everything decided to check out of this life to stop the pain. Even typing those words puts a heaviness in the depths of my soul because, truth be known, though I’ve never been rich or famous, I empathize with feelings of loneliness, deep struggle and searching for meaning in a bucket with holes. I have been in that dark place.
What struck me about the article was the vast amount of “stuff” Johnny Depp owns, the supermodels he’s married, the places he’s traveled and how money and power have allowed him to get whatever he wants. He never has to tell himself no. And though I don’t know the intricacies of his private life, it appears, it’s never enough. There has to be more. There’s no real and lasting satisfaction.
There is no rest.
In a recent message at our church from Michael Defazio, he mentioned that we all have a tendency to want what we do not have. Though we have everything we need, we still wander…we wander and wonder what life would be like if I just had that or did that. It’s different for all of us, but we all have something we can be drawn to in satisfying places inside of us that are not experiencing the fullness of what Christ offers. I dare say it’s not sin to recognize the tug, but it most assuredly will lead us there if we do not cry out to Jesus as our source of Living Waters that seeps into every crack and crevice of our longing heart.
We’re not always good at interpreting longing…
Instead of stepping back and asking Jesus what we’re really longing for, we settle for temporary relief that can’t provide real satisfaction…and then we end up battling guilt and shame because we know Jesus is suppose to be enough. My heart is deeply sensitive to this reality, not only in my own life but those around me. I feel deep compassion for those drinking water from broken cisterns. The love of God overwhelms me to pour out grace, knowing I never think I stand, lest I fall.
Though God has mercifully filled up the lonely, struggling places of my heart and by His grace, I’ve grown in character and maturity, I dare not look away from Him. He and He alone is the reason I stand. I drank from broken cisterns for most of my life and when I say no today, it’s not because I’ve arrived, it’s because of His grace and my awareness of what my longings mean…and should my heart get assaulted with feeling lonely or an unasked for struggle, I’ve learned to lean into the pain and sit with Jesus. There’s no other option with a good outcome.
The ability to have longings and desires were given by God. To long for and to have desires for certain things make us human. It was God’s idea. He created us to experience the depths of these emotions without shame. And He offers forgiveness when they go haywire.
I often think about how longings create opportunitues to choose God…that even in holy and pure desires, He becomes more to us than the dream we are believing for. I believe God takes great delight in seeing His kids long for what He longs for…things like salvation, mercy and justice, babies, good health, restored families, His plans and purposes and the list goes on…
My husband Nathan recently said to me, “You’re not a very good asker.” My first thought was, “Are you kidding me? Do you realize I ask God multiple questions a day?” And then he added “From people.” Uggghhhhh… I love-hate how well he knows me. That man has prayed some prayers over me in the last few days that have left me mush. I am still trying to recover. Sometimes our longings involve asking things of people and then trusting God in the outcome…all the while finding our deepest satisfaction in the Living Waters that quench our thirst for the real and lasting.
King David recognized that God alone knew the depth of his heart. “Search me O God, and know my heart. Try me and know my thoughts. And see if there be any grievous way in me, and lead me in the everlasting way. ..” Anytime I see O God in scripture, I recognize an intensity in a desire for God to come. It’s the same words I use at times when I’m either expressing wonderment or desperation, which leads me back to Johnny Depp…only God knows the desperations of his heart and the outcome of his life…but I’m saying a prayer for him today. While the world watches and sometimes worships those who appear to have it all, I’m asking Jesus to reveal Himself to a man who appears to have everything but satisfaction.
I can’t close without sharing the scripture that’s going through my mind as I’ve been typing. When I read this verse or say these words, I feel the sting of living in the now of God and the fullness of what’s to come when He returns. I grieve over death, loss, sin, shame and all those things that will have no place in our stories when Jesus comes back..I also express my gratitude that in this waiting time, He’s given us His Spirit to comfort us, lead us home and taste the satisfaction of knowing Him.
The Spirit and the Bride say, “Come.” And let the one who hears say “Come.” And the one who is thirsty come; let the one who desires take the water of life without price. Revelation 22:17