Sunday, May 10, 2015

The hole Jesus doesn't fill, on earth

So here, at last, in the section from Scary Close, by Don Miller, on longing, that I appreciated. What I particularly appreciated is not the idea that we have a God-shaped hole in us that no human being can fill (hopefully I have learned that already, and many of you will know that too), but that he also qualifies that this God-shaped hole is not actually going to be filled here on earth (I added the italics). Yes. Christians will talk like when you have found Jesus, or he has found you rather, that is it. All holes now filled. But I think the experience of any even remotely poetic soul is that there is still plenty of longing left over (anyone who tries to tell you otherwise probably studied engineering - and I probably need to put an emoticon on that). And that’s where the future of being reunited with God, in some way more tangible than here, in a perfect world, comes in. Das ist die Sehnsucht people.
Another paradigm shift that allowed me to finally have a healthy relationship was theological. I realized there was a subconscious longing in my heart that could never be resolved by another human being. Certainly Betsy could resolve my longing for a an intimate companion, but I’m talking about something deeper. Some people think of it as the longing for God, and I think they’re onto something. In my opinion, though, that longing will never be satisfied in our lifetime. In other words, I’m convinced every person has a longing that will never be fulfilled and it’s our job to let it live and breathe and suffer within it as a way of developing our character.

I remember growing up in a church hearing about how there was a hole in our hearts that could be filled by Jesus, but later in life when I became a Jesus guy myself I continued to experience the longing. He simply wasn’t doing it. The experience was so frustrating I almost walked away from my faith.

Later, though, I read in the Bible about how there will be a wedding in heaven and how, someday, we will be reunited with God. The Bible paints a beautiful picture of a lion lying down with a lamb, of all our tears being wiped away, of a mediator creating peace and a King ruling with wisdom and kindness. The language is scattered and often vague, but there’s no question something in the souls of men will be healed and perhaps even made complete once we are united with God and not a second before. What differentiates true Christianity from the pulp many people buy into is that Jesus never offers that completion here on earth. He only asks us to trust him and follow him to the metaphorical wedding we will experience in heaven.

The more I thought about it, the more the Bible made sense. Early followers of Jesus experienced pain and trial and frustration, hardly the romantic life. But they consoled each other and took care of each other and comforted each other in the longing.

In my opinion the misappropriation of the longing for God has caused a lot of people a great deal of pain. In fact, I wondered if some of my early mistakes in relationships weren’t partly because I sought to find resolution for the longing through a woman, a burden no romantic partner should have to bear. How many relationships have been ruined by two people attempting to squeeze the Jesus out of each other?

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