The longing for things to be good again is one of the deepest yearnings of the human heart. It has slumbered in the depths of our souls ever since we lost our true home. For our hearts remember Eden.
Most of the time this beautiful, powerful longing flows like an underground river below the surface of our awareness — so long as we are consoled by some measure of goodness in our lives. While we are enjoying our work, our family, our adventures, or the little pleasures of this world, the longing for things to be good again seems to be placated.
But when trials and heartbreaks wash in, the longing rises to the surface like a whale coming up for air, filled with momentum and force. This is especially true after times of severe testing, because during the testing we are rallying. But when the storm subsides, the longing for things to be good again rises up to demand relief.
How we shepherd this longing — so crucial to our identity and the true life of our heart — how we listen to it but also guide it in right or wrong directions, this determines our fate.
- God has given each human soul a capacity and drive, a primal aspiration for life. This is as fundamental to you as your own survival.
The epicenter of our being is the deep longing to aspire for things that bring us life, to plan for those things, to take hold of them, to enjoy them, and start the cycle over as we aspire toward new things! This is the essential craving for life given to us by God. Let’s call this capacity the Primal Drive for Life.
Our Primal Drive for Life has taken a real beating over the past few years.
It isn’t only the pandemic. We were all running like rats on a wheel before 2020 — addicted to technology, overwhelmed by global news, wrung out from social tensions, exhausted body and soul from the madness of modern life. We were set up to be steamrolled by the pandemic. Then came the repeated cycles of fear, control, chronic disappointment, all those losses great and small, the inability to make plans for the future.
I know, I know — most of you think that what you need right now is three months at the coast. Walking on the beach, drinks on the deck, and with all my heart I hope you find that. But
- for most of us, a sabbatical in some gorgeous refuge is not available. What is available is the River of Life, God Himself, in ways we have not yet tapped into.
God wants to make His life available to you. Remember — He’s the creator of those beautiful places you wish you could go to for a sabbatical. All that beauty and resilience, all that life comes from God, and He wants to impart a greater measure of Himself to you! The life of God is described in Scripture as a river — a powerful, gorgeous, unceasing, ever-renewing, ever-flowing river.
Ezekiel was given a number of beautiful visions, glimpses into the kingdom of God that permeates this world. He saw the temple of God in Jerusalem, and out of the temple was flowing the River of Life. As it flowed forth across the countryside, it became so deep and wide it wasn’t possible to swim across it — an image of abundance! I love how the passage ends:
Where the river flows everything will live. — Ezekiel 47:9
Everything will live. This is what we want — to live, to find life in its fullness again.
There is so much life flowing from God that it flows like a mighty river. Isn’t that marvelous? Follow me now — the River of Life is not just for later. Jesus stated clearly that the river is meant to flow out of our inner being right here, in this life:
Let anyone who is thirsty come to Me and drink. Whoever believes in Me, as Scripture has said, rivers of living water will flow from within them. — John 7:37–38
The mighty life of God flowing in you and through you, saturating you like a river.
In order to tap into the River of Life, we begin by loving God in our longing for life to be good again. That’s where things are decided. Nearly all of us have been chasing relief in a myriad of hopes, plans, and dreams without first turning to God. So we need to enter the longing, feel it, become present to it, and in that place start loving God. Choose Him.
Our first step toward resilience is to return our Primal Drive for Life and our longing for things to be good again to God; we come back to Jesus from all other places we’ve been chasing life. We ask God to fill us with the river of His life.
Jesus, I come back to You now in my longing for life to be good again. I love You here, Lord, in my soul’s longings, desires, and heartaches. I consecrate to You my Primal Drive for Life. I surrender to You my ability to aspire for good things, plan for them, take hold of them, enjoy them, and keep on aspiring. I consecrate all living in me to You, Lord Jesus; I give you my famished craving for life to be good again. I love You here. I love You right here. And now I ask that the river of Your life would flow in me, in my Primal Drive for Life and in my longing for life to be good again. I open my heart and soul to the river of life. Let it flow in me, through me, and all around me — restoring, renewing, and healing me. You alone are the life I seek, and I welcome Your river into my heart and soul; I receive the river of Your life in me. Thank You, God! In Your mighty name I pray.
Give this simple prayer, asking for the River of Life, a try for one week; you’ll see.
Written for Devotionals Daily by John Eldredge, author of Resilient.
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Craving a good life again isn't a bad thing - it's a symptom of what's going on inside. Tap into the River of Life today! Instead of chasing relief elsewhere, enter into the longing and bring it to God. Choose Him and let Him flow into you! ~ Devotionals Daily