“I want deliberately to encourage this mighty longing after God. The lack of it has brought us to our present low estate. The stiff and wooden quality about our religious lives is a result of our lack of holy desire. Complacency is a deadly foe of all spiritual growth. Acute desire must be present or there will be no manifestation of Christ to His people. He wants to be wanted. Too bad that with many of us He waits so long, so very long, in vain.”
I have long struggled with the tendency toward complacency and a lack of desire toward the things of God. I grew up with it; it surrounded me on all sides, and unfortunately it is a part of "who I am" even though I want SO badly to have it removed permanently! It's my "thorn in the flesh", because it really does represent the will of my flesh to just sit back and "be", when I know in my heart of hearts that God wants more of me. It has taken me far too many years to understand that true Christianity is not an internal religion, lived solely within the heart--it is like an earthquake--beginning out of the view of the world, but radiating outward, affecting everything in its path. TRUE Christianity is contagious!
Over the years one of the tidbits of wisdom I've heard over and over again is that in all trials there is a lesson. God isn't the one tempting us, but He allows it because He knows we can learn valuable things from little twinges of pain and through Him, good can come of the bad. The trial brings attention to a potential weak spot in our character that God wants to see us develop, much like a physical pain can bring us to a doctor to see about an underlying condition we would not have otherwise known about.
A couple of years ago God used what could have been merely a "family problem" for His glory in my life. He taught me a lesson I would have never had the opportunity to learn firsthand had I not been exposed to the worst emotional trauma of my life. God knows me even better than I know myself, and He knew that I'd analyze every angle of my trial. Hidden in that trial was something I never expected to find--a very clear picture of what God wanted from me. I spent many sleepless nights and many more tear-filled days contemplating the horror that had befallen my marriage because of sin, and I'd heard words I never imagined hearing from someone who pledged his life to me. No matter how "reassuring" it was to him to say the words "I'm here; I didn't leave", I knew that I wanted more from him. I deserved more, I expected more, I *KNEW* our relationship was worth more than that. I didn't want him to just "be" there, I wanted him to have a burning desire to be with me. I wanted to be 'wanted', for lack of a better description. I wanted the importance of our relationship to be paramount--to be the spark within him that fueled his willingness to do anything it took to put our marriage FIRST.
Hidden in that pain was a message for me, borne of years of complacency. Of *COURSE* that's what I wanted of my marriage. Wasn't I created in the image of the Author of marriage Himself? Wasn't marriage a picture of God's love for His church? Wasn't the church the Bride of Christ?
As I contemplated the pain I lived for all those months while the sin was stripped (far too slowly for my comfort, I might add) from my husband's life, I learned something that cut me to the core. God wants from us what we want from our mates--heartfelt desire, commitment, and a love that fills every pore of our hearts. All those years, I'd sat in worship services, Bible studies, Sunday School classes, and fellowship meals...yet my life showed something devastating to God. I was doing all those things and saying to God, "I'm here. I'm not leaving, isn't that enough?"
God wanted more. He wanted me to WANT to be there. He wanted my love for Him to radiate from my heart and affect everyone around me. He wanted our relationship to be the entire focus of my life. He taught me something huge--"being there" isn't enough. It doesn't even come close.
I did not enjoy the pain of what my husband's sin did to our marriage. But I can say very honestly that I am thankful for what lesson God taught me through that pain. I know I'll struggle with the tendency toward staying in my comfort zone from time to time, but I now understand WHY it's a problem to God; and I understand just how much it hurts Him. Forgive me, Father, for the lukewarmness I've lived in for so long. It's a detestable state, and it's my prayer that I am never lost in it again.
Deborah is hosting this week's In 'Other' Words; visit her blog Chocolate & Coffee to read her comments about her chosen quote and to view other participants' blogs.