What a Beautiful Name

 

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what a beautiful name

Renowned Christian author C.S. Lewis is known among many other things for having written a book called Mere Christianity in which he states, “If I find in myself a desire which no experience in this world can satisfy, the most probable explanation is that I was made for another world.”

I love this quote.  It’s one of my favorites of all time.  

It’s right up there in my mind with St. Augustine’s, “You have made us for yourself oh God, and our hearts are restless until they rest in you.”

These words - and so many others by the likes of Aquinas, Chesterton, Stein, Springsteen (as in Bruce), and more - point to the ever-present reality of human longing.  It’s undeniably a part of every moment of life. Even when in numbness we seem to desire nothing, we find that we want to want. Even in moments of the deepest satisfaction, peace and joy, we can’t escape the thought that this moment won’t last forever.  

We desire, period. It’s just what humans do.

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But more than just pointing out to us the longing itself that we all experience, Lewis et al rightly direct us to the one we long for.  The well the doesn’t run dry. The love that satisfies. They remind us that we’re on a journey of longing. They remind us that we don’t need to despair when we feel the pain of desires that seemingly cannot be sated and restlessness that finds no comfort.  These pains of longing are in themselves the reminder that we’re made for more than what we have, more than what we know, and more than we even think we want.

It’s in the place of longing that we’re perhaps most intimately invited to prayer, to moments of real encounter and communion with God.  

We could talk for many more volumes about human desire, maybe infinitely;) But what I’d like to ponder is this: what does our longing tell us about the longing of God?

Short answer - so much and so little.  As Genesis tells us, we’re made in the image and likeness of God.  We’re made out of the same stuff. God is Love, so it follows that we are made out of Love.  Love, as we understand it, is the giving of self for the good of the other. Love is a kind of striving and longing for the sake of the other.  God loves perfectly. This is his nature. He can only love perfectly. You and I image that love as a likeness of God...we do so imperfectly. But still we know it, we taste it, we long for it, even if in a way that’s so other than God.  At the deepest place of our longing, perhaps we’ve even recognized that we’re aching for something infinite...we’re experiencing just the smallest little teensy taste of God’s longing for us.

How often do we actually remember that - that God longs for us? That he desires us? That his desire IS for us?

In the seemingly massive experience of our own longing, it’s just a drop, just a grain of sand in the heart of God’s perfect and infinite longing for us.  We don’t have metrics or words to quantify or describe this kind of desire. We don’t have the reason or the experience know the magnitude of this desire. But we will, and God lets us taste it now - in the sunrise on our morning commute. In the eyes of our spouse, our daughter, our son. For me, in the Crunchy Salmon Roll at my favorite local sushi restaurant...yes I’m serious, he lets us taste it now.  Nowhere more profoundly then in that place where heaven comes to earth and we taste the Bread of Life, the very presence of God. Perhaps his presence in humble bread is proof of his longing for us that we can begin to understand.

I want to offer you a challenge: I want to invite you to live this day remembering that God desires you.  He’s mindful of you. He hears you. He’s present to you long before you’re aware of him. I want to challenge you to return to this remembering today and to reflect on this experience before you fall asleep.  

How did this knowledge change the way you lived today?  

How did it change your perspective on all of your experiences?  

When did you find yourself struggling to believe it?

What new revelations did you discover about yourself - and about God - within your own desires?

As you reflect, listen to the words of this song What a Beautiful Name: “You didn’t want heaven without us, so Jesus you brought heaven down.” Let us journey together in prayer and longing for the one who longs for us.  


- Written by Greg Boudreaux


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