A Sorrowful Sojourner

I wish I could understand. I wish what I know in my head would be believed by my heart. I am hearing the same thing over and over again, but I’m not believing it at all. I’m tired of feeling this way. I’m tired of looking around and seeing people who are married and have families and who seem to be totally fine when I feel like I couldn’t be more miserable. How am I expected to rejoice in the midst of this? How can I can be content here? I feel like I was fine. I was content with singleness and didn’t care to get married for so long, but within the past 2 years it’s like this small want has increased into an all consuming desire.

Which leads me to ask why You would give me a desire that leads me to want something more than I want You? This tension torments me day and night. I try to focus and refocus on You over and over again, but the desire leads me back to want. I’ve asked You to take it. I want to not want it anymore. But it’s still here. Eating me alive. What the hell am I supposed to do? It feels like my life has dried up. Like my soul is shriveled within my being. I’m just here. A burden for others to have to bear. I have no life to give. I feel unwanted and unloved by You. I feel like You are withholding something from me that You have made me to want. Why? Why does this desire overwhelm me to the point of not even wanting to live? Why won’t You take it? Why won’t You save me from this restless state of unease and discontentment when it feels like I have been fighting to see You as and believe You to be the better thing? I’m tired of my heart aching, of its throbbing endlessly and being in pain. How am I to live when I cannot bring myself to praise?

It isn’t possible for me to change my own heart and mind. You don’t expect me to. My inability to fix myself is intentional. It is supposed to lead me to a deeper reliance on You… a deeper longing in my heart that will ultimately bring me closer to You. And though it absolutely sucks, it is for my good.

This is a torturous tension in which we are called to live, which is why we were never called to endure it alone. How can we survive on our own in a world that is so filled with fallen men and unfulfilled dreams? How can we endure such anguish in solitude? For the longest time, I thought the songs of the birds and the sounds of the insects and the whispering of the trees were only harmonies of praise. But now I wonder how often such sounds are filled dissonance… does the animal and the earth echo the psalmist when he asks “How long, O Lord?” 

There was once a naivety in me that led me to think all of His creation would only give Him praise. But now I know that the effects of the Fall have reverberated throughout the ages… Their song goes out, everything around us groans, longing for its redemption. When will He come? When will He restore and renew and make us whole again? When will sin be forgotten and forever dispelled from our midst? When will we be able to behold Him, unveiled, that we may be forever changed into His likeness. Oh, the longing for restored union with the One who made all! How deeply it is embedded into the being of each creature made by His hands.

So long as He tarries, I must wait. I must continue to hold out my hands as well as my plans and say, “Thy will be done.” I must believe that He is faithful and that He will always give me the better thing: more of Himself. How can it be that the source of my greatest sorrow is also the source of my deepest joy? I am sorrowful because I long to be with Him, to be made new and holy in His sight. But I am joyful because I know there is no greater hope for my life, there is no greater treasure to be found. This is the tension between my head and my heart. My mind knows the truth: I have seen the goodness of the Lord in the land of the living and I will one day wake to be satisfied in His likeness. But my heart believes the lie: He is not good and this is all a waste. This wrestling, this writhing and wrenching, will it destroy me? Will it render me ineffective and hopeless? Will the torment of the tension lead to my demise? It feels as though the outcome I have envisioned is inevitable. I will not make it. I will not be able to endure. I will forsake the One I love and who has loved me.

But I must lift my eyes. I must ask that He would allow me to glimpse Him once again, to remind me that I will never have lost upon gaining Christ. I will never suffer as He suffered. I will never die the death He died. I will never face the abandonment and wrath He faced… because He bore such punishment on my behalf. As I look to the Savior, suffocating and smitten upon the cross, I cannot dwell on my pain. I cannot convince myself that I have been called to conquer anything more than He has already conquered. I am not damned because He was damned in my place. I am not cursed because He bore my curse and wore the crown meant for me. He alone suffered the depths of hell, separated from the Father, on the behalf of those He loves. He became sin who knew no sin… Imagine, how crushing that weight. How foreign the foe that found Him in His last hours and wreaked havoc on his soul as He was left by everyone He loved. How many lies did he hear in that darkness? How many moments of pure evil was He forced to see? How hopeless and forgotten did He feel? How excruciating was the sting of sin? How devastating was the dagger of death as it was plunged into His sinless life? How did He survive separation from the One He had known in perfect union for all of eternity?

See how God used the greatest injustice and crime ever committed to bring about the greatest display of His glory ever known: the resurrection of Christ.
He faced every threat, every fear, every power known to man and He emerged victorious.
See the Lamb, covered in blood that was shed for a wretched worm such as man. Why? In God’s name, why?
Because He loves us. Infinitely and unconditionally. Enough to die for the very ones who put Him to death. How trivial and inconsequential is the suffering we face in this life when compared to the glory that will be revealed. I long for that glory. To see it in all its fullness. To behold it and be completely transformed by it. To be captivated, totally and utterly consumed by His essence.

How long, O Lord?

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