As the deer pants for the water brooks,
So pants my soul for You, O God.
My soul thirsts for God, for the living God.
When shall I come and appear before God?
(Psalm 42:1,2)

DEEPER THAN EVERY OTHER LONGING IS THE DEEPEST DESIRE FOR WHICH WE WERE CREATED — THE DESIRE FOR GOD. We may not recognize it, we may not be able to name it even when we feel it, and we may even try to deny it sometimes. But having been made in His image, we can no more negate the desire for our Creator than we can uncreate the nature of our being. “Somewhere in the depths of infinity lies a buried part of ourselves: that something we did not bring with us into this life, the missing piece which makes us incomplete and generates in us the yearning to be connected again with the source of our being, beyond our distorted view of perfection and innocence” (Paul Ciholas).

Having God as our deepest need, however, is not quite the same as feeling God as our deepest desire. No doubt we feel our need most sharply when we’re suffering, but the reality is, we need God every instant, and we ought to desire Him always. We don’t need God any less when we’re contented than when we’re not. Each and every day, it is “in Him [that] we live and move and have our being” (Acts 17:28). As our deepest, most constant need, He should be our most profound, heartfelt desire.

From the infinite riches of His grace, God is able to fill our needs. He holds every true treasure that our hearts yearn for, and He “can satisfy the last aching abyss of the human soul” (Oswald Chambers). His will is for us to seek Him sincerely and make our supplication to Him concerning every empty place within us. He knows us and can sympathize with our weaknesses. “Let us therefore come boldly to the throne of grace, that we may obtain mercy and find grace to help in time of need” (Hebrews 4:16).

But beyond every one of our lesser needs, God Himself is the end of all our desire. He is the goal of our existence, the fulfillment of all we were created to be. “O Lord . . . the desire of our soul is for Your name and for the remembrance of You” (Isaiah 26:8).

“You awake us to delight in your praise; for you have made us for yourself, and our heart finds no rest until it rests in you” (Augustine of Hippo).

Gary Henry — +

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