Michael VanHook
Michael VanHook

Yearning

Something to Ponder

 

“God thirsts to be thirsted after” (St. Augustine).

"Today the heart of God is an open wound of love. He aches over our distance and preoccupation. He mourns that we do not draw near to Him. He grieves that we have forgotten him. He weeps over our obsession with muchness and manyness. He longs for our presence.

 

He is inviting you—and me—to come home, to come home to where we belong, to come home to that for which we were created. His arms are stretched out wide to receive us. His heart is enlarged to take us in"  (Richard J. Foster, Prayer: Finding the Heart’s True Home).

An Invitation to Ponder

 

On a few long-distance training runs and bike rides, I encountered extreme dehydration and came perilously close to suffering grave consequences. Every ounce of energy was sapped out of my body. On one occasion as I collapsed on a curb, it took me 15 minutes to muster the strength to walk across the street to a gas station water fountain. I had one driving thought—get water!

 

At other times, I’ve had a similar thirst, but not for water. My unquenched thirst was for something I couldn’t taste or touch—something much deeper. It was all I yearned for. This intense thirst was for meaning and purpose, a yearning for something more out of life.

 

Over time I came to recognize that this yearning was my desire for a connection, a relationship with the Divine. It was God’s way of calling me to himself, to create a thirst that only he could quench.

 

My friend Ron Del Bene has taught me that this yearning is an invitation “to let God into our lives for the first time or a chance to move farther along the personal path of spiritual growth with God beside us all the way. . . . [It] is an awakening. It is a stage at which we come to realize that God is calling us to wholeness and fullness of life.” 1

 

I have had this yearning at many intersections over the course of my life. Sometimes it’s intense, other times it’s more subtle. I’ve discovered that if I pay attention, seek, and wait, God draws me closer and opens new opportunities for wholeness in life.

 

How do you recognize this yearning? How have you responded when this thirst awakens your consciousness? What has been helpful? And not? Are you experiencing this yearning now?

 

1 Del Bene, Ron (1983). The Hunger of the Heart. Minneapolis, MN: Winston Press, p. 15.

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Palais Sans-Soucis, Haiti

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