“We are merely moving shadows, and all our busy rushing ends in nothing” (Psalm 39:6 NLT).
For decades, as I have had the privilege of ministering to women, I have heard the same heart-cry from those who desire to have a deep, intimate, exuberant relationship with Christ but don’t know how to find it.
Here’s part of one email:
Here’s the crux of my problem. After I gave my life to Christ, I joined a church and began reading the Bible daily. Yet, I never experienced that overwhelming feeling of change that so many others experience. In my quiet times, when I seek to know Him better and wait quietly for answers, I do not get the nudges that others talk about. I know that some people hit rock bottom and then experience a dramatic life change accompanied by an emotional high. I sometimes wonder if I will have to experience some great trial in order to have the wonderful feelings of a true relationship with Christ.
I try to start each day with quiet time, scripture reading and prayer. I try to have a God-focused day. Is something wrong with me? Do other women feel this emptiness too? Should I be feeling something more? What more should I be doing? I know Christ loves me, but something is missing and I don’t even know what it is. What should I do?
—Stephanie (Not her real name. Used by permission.)
Perhaps you can relate. You long to feel close to God but sense there’s just something lacking, that you’ve missed the mysterious formula to make it happen. I call this a “glory ache” —a persistent longing to experience God’s presence on a daily basis. Perhaps like most women, you’ve tried desperately to balance the montage of mundane demands and somehow slip God into the white spaces that are few and far between. You long to spend time in the sacred with God, but find the desire crowded out by the responsibilities of the secular—the daily demands—that lay claim to your attention. You yearn to experience God’s presence, but feel far away from Him as you reach to click off the bedside lamp and collapse exhausted once again. Maybe tomorrow, you sigh.
The travesty is that we allow the busyness of life to crowd out the Source of life. As the Psalmist wrote, “We are merely moving shadows, and all our busy rushing ends in nothing” (Psalm 39:6 NLT). Ann Voskamp echoes that lament: “In a world addicted to speed, I blur the moments into one unholy smear.”
And in that unholy smear, that blur of the world passing quickly by, we know something’s not quite right. So we strike out to make it all better. And most of us are quick to think ‘something more’ means ‘doing more.’ We ramp it up and gun the engines—sign up for a new committee, volunteer for a new cause, bake one more casserole to feed the sick. We attempt to silence the hunger pains of the heart by feeding it the bread and water of duty. And at the end of the day, while we might feel a self-induced sense of well-being, the hollowness in our soul that can only be satisfied with God echoes with the grumblings of hunger still.
We long for a sense of closeness with God, but we have a hard time putting our finger on exactly what that closeness would look like. It’s just something more. Something different. A flavor we have yet to taste. A country we have yet to visit. A sunset we have yet to experience. A lover we have yet to embrace. There has to be something more, we cry! And we are quite right. We are craving the closeness that comes with an intimate relationship with Jesus.
So we try so harder. We go to Bible studies, attend church, say our prayers, and read our devotions. Check, check, check. And yet, we constantly feel that we are somehow letting God down. With the last amen of the day, we sigh, What more does God want from me?
And here’s the thing. We’re asking the wrong question. It is not what God wants from you. It is what God wants for you. Abundant life (John 10:10). Constant communion with Him. Intimate union with Him.
He’s inviting you into intimate union. Right now. Right where you are. Perhaps you need to stop trying to get what you already have and simply grab hold.
Dear Lord, soothe my glory ache with Your presence. Help me to stay in constant communion and union with You. Forgive me when I think the glory ache can be satisfied by anything or anyone besides You, and wander off to other lovers. You, Lord, are my stream of Living Water to quench every thirst.
What Do You Think?
What or who have you turned to to satisfy that ache for something more in your life? Food? People? Money? Ministry?
Do you tend to ask God what He wants from you or for you?
How would you describe the abundant life Jesus talked about in John 1010?
If you can relate to Stephanie and her email, leave a comment that says…”I can relate!”
Do you long to feel close to God but sense there’s something missing? That you’ve missed that mysterious formula to make it happen? Do have a glory ache – a persistent longing to experience God’s presence and working in your life, but not quite sure how to make it happen? If so, my new book, A Sudden Glory: God’s Lavish Response to Your Ache for Something More, is just for you. Join me and discover how to erase the lines between the secular and the sacred and experience a deeper more intimate relationship with God than ever before.