Last Friday I struggled with something. I didn't quite know what it was. I wasn't unhappy, or sad. Not really. I just wasn't…"me," if that makes any sense. Then I read a passage in a book that my Bethany House editors had sent me for my birthday and it perfectly defined what I was feeling.
In her wonderful book Deeper into the Word, Keri Wyatt Kent writes,
"C.S. Lewis wrote extensively on joy. His life was marked by what he labeled Sehnsucht––a longing for joy. It was the longing itself that brought joy, not the attaining. And it was that longing that led him to eventually renounce atheism and become one of the greatest Christian apologists of the twentieth century. In his wonderful book Surprised by Joy, he writes,
' In a sense the central story of my life is about nothing else… It is that of an unsatisfied desire which is itself more desirable than any other satisfaction. I call it Joy, which is here a technical term and must be sharply distinguished both from Happiness and from Pleasure. Joy (in my sense) has indeed one characteristic, and one only, in common with them; the fact that anyone who has experienced it will want it again. '
Jesus told his disciples that they would find joy by staying intimately connected with him (see John 15). When Jesus told his disciples he would be leaving them but then returning (referring to his death and resurrection), he told them those events would cause them to grieve but then to rejoice. Sometimes the path to joy leads us first through disappointment or pain. Sometimes we find joy in the midst of the pain, in spite of it, because we experience the presence of God."
Me here again… I read that last line and it totally summed up what I was feeling. Even as I was experiencing the presence of God in my life, I had a deeper craving for more of His presence. A desire to live more fully "in the moment" with Him. And while it was encouraging in one sense, it left me with a longing––a kind of emptiness inside––that left me feeling out of sorts. Unfulfilled. And with good reason, I realized, as I more closely examined my feelings. Because (as the old song goes) this world is not my home.
God fashioned us for so much more than just these few years on earth. Don't you feel that when you look at a sunrise? Or when you look out across a meadow bathed in the blue of coming twilight and you see, so vividly, the hand of the Creator, and you know without a doubt that the One who created what you're seeing, also created you, and also created an eternal Home for you and me. As fabulous as this world can be at times, it simply doesn't begin to measure up to God's plans for us.
(Thanks to my friend Delmar Schroeder for these pictures of Colorado)
I highly recommend Deeper into the Word. It's a wonderful book (that could be used as a daily devotional) that enriches our understanding of words used in the New Testament and therefore God's message to us.
On a completely different note... On Sunday night Joe and I saw The Doobie Brothers in concert at the Ryman Auditorium in Nashville. We had such a great time and the music was fabulous! But wow, when did the rest of the Doobie fans get to be so old? Sheesh... If you've never visited the Ryman, click to read the history of that wonderful historic old building.
Praying you're sensing God's presence today, and that it leaves you Joyful and yet…Sehnsucht––longing for more.