The Aching, Sobbing, Heartbreak of Longing

31 Jan 2011 in Intimacy with Jesus

A few nights ago, I was playing my piano and singing and worshiping when suddenly it hit me: the aching, sobbing, heartbreak of longing. I started crying, "What if I never get there in God. What if my lifestyle, my job, the way I spend my time, my house, my spouse, my dogs, my apathy, lethargy and laziness, the weakness of my frame, the cares of this life, and all the things that could, get in the way of my pursuit of the Lord!"

My husband found me there in a puddle over my piano and held me while I sobbed.

Days later, the overwhelming emotions of the moment are gone, but the constant desire to be near to the Lord remains along with lingering questions about how to go about that, and fears that it may never happen.

I am going to be 26 in a month, and I remember like yesterday when I moved to the House of Prayer almost nine years ago. I was a wide-eyed 17-year-old looking upon that time of my life as the commencement of my pursuit for the knowledge of God. I remember vividly our prayer room "day of consecration" in our internship. My friend Abbie and I sat beside each other for 12 hours, and at the end of our day, we were crying and still weren't ready to leave. It was a precious time where every sermon contained some nugget of revelation that I was eager to receive, when all I wanted was to be like Mary of Bethany wasting my life at the feet of Jesus. When I imagined myself 10 years later, it was such a glorious thing because surely I would be so close to the Lord.

The years have been good, but they've also been hard. I've learned a lot of things, and much of it has been the hard way. I've learned that a ministry didn't save me, Jesus did, therefore I live for Him alone. I've learned that people make mistakes, and the mercy I don't give is the mercy I don't get (thank you Kevin Prosch). I've learned that just because I have a particular gifting, or personality, everyone else doesn't have to suffer because of it. I discovered that I didn't miss out on anything by pursuing Jesus instead of college, or my career, relationships or influence. I didn't miss a blessed thing.

I've gone through financial debt, depression, health problems, broken heart, being completely misunderstood, making an ass of myself, and feeling totally disqualified from the call of God. I've also experienced healing, restoration, deliverance, supernatural encounters, favor and provision.

I have learned so much about the end times (Escatalogy) and the theology of Jesus (Christology), I've gained immense practical ministry experience, led worship for countless hours in corporate worship settings with full band, and by myself in prophetic spontaneous worship, I've prayed for people and have seen them healed of physical ailments and delivered from real demons. I've had dreams, and seen them play out on the news, and I've given specific words that have come to pass. And I know countless others just like me. And the frightening reality is that dozens who have experienced the very same thing now find themselves in a stagnant form of religion denying the power of God that is available. And I really really really don't want that to be me.

What I'm most worried about isn't sin necessarily. I've been in sin before, I'll probably (although hopefully not) be there again, but whatever that sin was, it always ate at me. My conscience troubled me into repentance. Willful disobedience to the Lord is just really a very unpleasant experience. No, what I am more worried about is the complacency of the mundane. For me, the great difficulty is faithfulness - no more than just faithfulness, more like taking ground in the day-to-day.  When you're living out your life, most of the time it just doesn't seem that glorious. Most of the time, I feel like my life consists of working, laundry, cooking, cleaning, trying to remember something I wanted to do or was supposed to do, more cleaning, working on the house, letting dogs outside, and back inside. When I do get a chance to read my Bible, pray deliberately, and worship, much of the time I feel like I'm fighting with my brain to get some space back to devote to the Lord, and trying not to simultaneously make my grocery list.  I want to be watchful that the complacency of the mundane doesn't drown out my passion for the Lord!

There are many scriptures that deal specifically with this issue, I will just list a few that bring my attention to the reality that many people will become jaded with life, their love for Jesus will grow cold, they will worry and be consumed with anxiety, and the pursuit of wealth.

  • "Be on guard, so that your hearts will not be weighted down with dissipation and drunkenness and the worries of life, and that day will not come on you suddenly like a trap" Luke 21:34
  • "Because lawlessness will increase so much, the love of many will grow cold."  Matthew 24:12
  • "The seed falling among the thorns refers to someone who hears the word, but the worries of this life and the deceitfulness of wealth choke the word, making it unfruitful." Matthew 13:22

and like I said, I really really really don't want that to be me. (Part of me wants to detour briefly to the subject about how the Humanity of Jesus gives so much dignity to our own often mundane human experience, but I'm going to save that one for another blog post.) For now, I'll leave you with this message from Dana Candler from a few weeks ago about Renewing our Pursuit for the Knowledge of God, which is what I'm doing right now too.  I'm not giving up on that desire of fellowship and abiding with the Lord, and neither should you.


Amanda's picture

Me too

I so relate to this as well, and as Mandy said this gave me hope as well--I know I'm not alone in the struggle and the longing, and also her comment about that this means God's Spirit is at work in us in this. Lord, help us to abide in you even in the midst of the mundane daily tasks that feel like they often keep us from what we long to do--be solely with You. Thank You that You are with us always, in every moment, and help us to spend time conversing with You no matter what each moment of every day entails. Thank you for this post, Joanna, and I think I am going to listen to Dana's message while doing another "mudane" but necessary task this evening--preparing dinner for my husband and I! :)
Mandy's picture


Oh and I hope you write that post about Jesus' humanity.
Mandy's picture


I am so there...SO THERE. Did I say I was there? Because I am. Reading your post actually gave me some sort of....hope. In a strange kind of weird way. I'm not the only one! Ha. It seems to me that He is doing this on purpose. The very fear of the mundane lulling me to sleep means the Spirit IS working in me. Revealing the seriousness of NOT FALLING ASLEEP! He's making me aware and then making me long! Being aware and praying that I don't become lethargic is better than being asleep and actually having no idea you are, right? I hope so. On that same not, happen to be in the middle of Deep Unto Deep by Dana C. right now. It's all about this..but you have probably read it and know that already. Thanks for sharing :)
Jenny Chao's picture

2 Peter 1:5-11

Thanks for sharing! A preacher shared this this morning in the Stand conference: 5 But also for this very reason, giving all diligence, add to your faith virtue, to virtue knowledge, 6 to knowledge self-control, to self-control perseverance, to perseverance godliness, 7 to godliness brotherly kindness, and to brotherly kindness love. 8 For if these things are yours and abound, you will be neither 5barren nor unfruitful in the knowledge of our Lord Jesus Christ. 9 For he who lacks these things is shortsighted, even to blindness, and has forgotten that he was cleansed from his old sins. 10 Therefore, brethren, be even more diligent to make your call and election sure, for if you do these things you will never stumble; 11 for so an entrance will be supplied to you abundantly into the everlasting kingdom of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ. God bless your longing heart! :)

Post new comment

The content of this field is kept private and will not be shown publicly. If you have a Gravatar account associated with the e-mail address you provide, it will be used to display your avatar.
This question is for testing whether you are a human visitor and to prevent spam submissions, which I am getting a lot of. :)
Enter the characters shown in the image.
By submitting this form, you accept the Mollom privacy policy.
Copyright © 1999 - 2015 Joanna Reyburn May, All Rights Reserved. Powered by Drupal. Hosting by Bluehost