Have you ever felt haunted by a deep heart longing for something more fulfilling, more meaningful, or simply more satisfying? Yet, if someone asked you what it was you actually wanted, would you be able to discern what it was that you really desired? I have experienced that longing too, and like many others, it has happened too many times to mention. The story of my life is strewn with my personal attempts to satisfy an ever-present, aching hunger in my heart.
As I look back, one thing becomes painfully clear. The many attempts in my past to satiate my heart’s hunger have always been just that—attempts. Each vain pursuit was short-lived, leaving my soul’s thirst unquenched and in greater want than at the start. My own personal journey has left me with two heart-searching questions. First, “What is this longing that seems to be part of the very fabric of my being?” And the second, “What is it that I am really longing for?”
In my search for answers, I have been surprised to find that my experience is not isolated. In my eternal, never-fully-satisfied longings, I have found that I am not alone . . . Surprisingly, King David shared these sentiments as well. At the height of monarchal success, King David penned the words, “My soul thirsts . . . my flesh yearns . . ., In a dry and weary land where there is no water…” Growing up, I remember hearing countless times that if I could just have three things I would be happy: money, power, and sex. What is surprising is that King David had money, he had power, he even had women in his life, but he realized that his heart was thirsting for what he could not find. And here is the most shocking realization: David has the audacity to claim what he was thirsting for . . . God.
To be honest, when I first realized this, I questioned whether David really meant what he wrote. Was he just trying to be pious? So many times we say what we are supposed to say rather than what we are really feeling. But the more I pondered David’s statement, the greater I became haunted by a nagging sense. Have I missed something? Could this longing in my heart really be a longing for intimacy with God? Why was my heart so averse to this? Is there something unfulfilling about God or is the real problem similar to what I had encountered with my Dad? Maybe I just don’t see Him as He really is. Could I have the wrong picture of this God with whom I am trying to have a relationship?
I found myself in a world of doubt. Nothing I had ever heard about God was appealing, much less deeply satisfying. Then, I stumbled on other statements that caught my attention. “You open Your hand and satisfy the desire of every living thing.” “In Your presence is fullness of joy”; “In Your right hand there are pleasures forever.” At this point, I had to come to a conclusion. Either these verses were just foolish notions, or maybe, in all the time I’d been a Christian, I had never really encountered God as He really is. I chose the second option, and embarked on a journey of discovery—a quest of seeing and believing, a journey of epoch dimensions in my heart and life. I fell to my knees with one prayer, “Dear Lord, help me to understand You, not merely on an intellectual level, but help me to see You with my heart.” I came to the conclusion that I had erred in my heart. I knew a lot of doctrine. I was well versed in the standards and lifestyle of a devout Christian. Yet, as religious as I may have been, on a heart level I had been blind to the “ways” of God. Could this be why my heart felt so empty? I wondered and prayed, “Lord, what am I missing in my religious experience?”
(Taken from the new book Finding the Father by Herb Montgomery, available now in our online store at www.renewedheartministries.com.)
I wish you God’s best.