we groan and we wait

We must look back and see the Bible for what it is —the greatest romance ever written.  God creates mankind for intimacy with himself as his beloved. We see it right from the start, when he gives us the highest freedom of all- the freedom to reject him. The  reason is obvious love is possible only when it is freely chosen, true love is never constrained, our hearts cannot be taken by force. So God sets out to woo his beloved and make her his queen.

That day comes, when Jesus appears on the scene and announces himself as the bridegroom. Jesus answered, “How can the guests of the bridegroom mourn while he is with them? The time will come when the bridegroom will be taken from them; then they will fast. Mat. 9:15. And when he says to us, “I am going there to prepare a place for you. And if I go and prepare a place for you. I will come back and take you to be with me that you also may be where I am, he is making his proposal. (John 14:2-3)

 We are waiting for our love to come.  Augustine declared, "The whole life of the good Christian is a holy longing. What you desire ardently, as yet you do not see… By withholding extends the longing, through longing he extends the soul, by extending he makes room n it. So said Augustine, "let us long because we are to be filled.. that is our life to be exercised by longing. And when the bridegroom of our souls comes, what then, this engagement is headed toward a consummation."

The Journey of Desire, John Eldredge

"Lord, speak to me in ways you've never spoken to me before." Have you ever prayed this prayer? A kind of longing, wanting something more deeply and profoundly, a deeper relationship.

During the solemn week of Easter, our church has a beautiful tradition where every family is tasked with reading a chapter from the New Testament together. Often, we also watch a film that serves as a poignant reminder of the sacrifices made at the cross. However, this year, our focus is on the book of Ephesians, and we are encouraged to delve into its verses at home, as it serves as the central theme for this month.

I realized that sometimes our culture and traditions force us into certain religious rituals that may lead to a superficial relationship with our faith. We may recite memorized prayers and show deep devotion out of fear, rather than genuine belief. We sometimes over-spiritualize things and diminish their true value. Many of us have become accustomed to a level of spiritual deadness that we consider normal, and we seem content to live with it. We may appreciate the significance of our faith one moment, but the next day we revert to our old ways, settling for a lukewarm relationship with our faith. Instead of truly living for our faith, we try to fit it into our schedules, using it to gain favor and blessings rather than honoring it. We are flawed, broken, and often feel hopeless.

life lately

This past few months, I never had "You met me at the corner moments." It's more about writing letters about my struggles, wins, and anything under the sun. It was a place to know and be known, to come in out of the winds of the world and mend my sails. I am learning that He is present and he makes things new. New season, new stories, new encounters, and new hopes. More personal, relational, and more intimate. 

Last time, my friends and I went outside, drank coffee, and were amazed at how God talks to us in different ways. We got to know Him more through our different struggles. A conversation with my mother, dancing at the kitchen sink with my nephew, making reports for my father, a dirty kitchen sink for learning how to cook, shouting at the highest pitch because my younger cousins were naughty and running from one another, paying debts and due dates, going to the grocery stores, and many other tiny little things —for getting up early and going home late at night, waiting for my groom to come and save me from my fear of walking on dark streets, "I wished you were here, moments!" when everyone is fetched and I realized I didn't have a ride. So I need to hop on a jeepney and try to shrink myself so I can go home early. In all these seemingly unremarkable moments, I am led to desire Him more, to know Him more, and to wait upon Him more.

Christian Book Haul

I just finished the book by John Eldredge tonight. I really enjoy his writing style; it feels like I'm walking alongside him, captivated by his journey towards desires. I first learned from him and his wife, Stacy, when I read Captivating, which was a great help in understanding my womanhood. This new book is speaking to my deepest desires and longings. Sometimes we suppress them, thinking that God doesn't care about them. Other times, we hide or even kill those desires, and worst of all, we settle for lesser things. (random thoughts: I am enjoying this time, it's 2:17 am, omooo I am made to write)

In "The Weight of Glory," C.S. Lewis suggests that when we consider the bold promises of reward and the extraordinary nature of the rewards promised in the Gospels, it seems that our desires are not too strong, but too weak. We are half-hearted creatures, settling for fleeting pleasures like drink, sex, and ambition, when we are offered infinite joy. It's like being an ignorant child who wants to keep making mud pies in a slum because they can't imagine what is meant by the offer of a holiday at the sea. We are far too easily satisfied. We often sacrifice what we truly desire for a little bit of pleasure and some peace and quiet. It doesn't take long to realize that life won't offer what we truly want, so we learn to lower our desires to a more manageable size. But let's be honest about what we've done and call it what it is: a sin. (John Eldredge)

We don’t need to fear recovering our desire because our desire is from God and for God. That is what is most true about us. For those who have been born of the Spirit and become new creatures in Christ sin is no longer the truest thing about us. Since the coming of Christ everything has changed. The joy of the new covenant is the transformation of our deepest being. As Christians, we have a new heart, and that means nothing less than this: our core desires are good. “I will put my law in their minds and write it on their hearts." Jer. 31:33

fears

"The worst fear for a woman is abandonment. Like a man who refuses to play the man for fear of failing, a woman who shuns intimacy only reveals her fear of rejection by refusing to face it honestly and openly. A woman’s impostors are nearly always attempt to somehow fill that ache for love or pretend she doesn’t need love. The feminist movement has tried hard to assert that women can be tough as men, they too, can compete, can achieve, can conquer." Captivating

I fear abandonment. It's like being a little girl in grade five, locked alone in a dark, eerie bathroom, with only the sound of her own breathing echoing in the silence. I desire to love and to be loved, to experience love that wraps around me like a warm blanket. There are moments when it feels suffocating, like being stranded in a storm without shelter, yearning for strong arms and hands to lean and to hold. I also desire to fetch at work and not be alone on the dimly lit streets. I crave the gentle pursuit of love, the sensation of receiving sweet messages under the starry night sky and being greeted with funny jokes in the light of day. I am cautious, guarding my heart from those who cannot love me the way I deserve, while eagerly awaiting the day when I find someone who will stand by my side, leading me to the altar, and becoming my home. I dream of a love that flows generously, reciprocated in the same measure, and I am hopeful that one day love like this will find me, someone who is certain that "I'm the missing part of his rib."

groaning while waiting

But in reality we groan while we wait...

We live in hope and apostle Paul says hoping is waiting and groaning.  To wait is to learn the spiritual grace of detachment, the freedom desire. Not the absence of desire but desire at rest.  There is actually a sweet pain in longing if we will let it draw our hearts homeward. I believe we must add two spiritual disciplines to everyday life. The first is to worship. We must adore God deliberately, regularly. The other is grief. We must allow a time for sorrow to do our own personal sowing. Life is loss and I must grieve regularly so as to give up trying to possess. I will not arrive in the golden place until I am with God. Don’t run from suffering. John Eldredge

We know that the whole creation has been groaning as in the pains of childbirth right up to the present time. Not only so, but we ourselves, who have the first fruits of the Spirit, groan inwardly as we wait eagerly for our adoption to sonship, the redemption of our bodies. For in this hope we were saved. But hope that is seen is no hope at all. Who hopes for what they already have? But if we hope for what we do not yet have, we wait for it patiently. Romans 8:22-25

We are allowed to grieve over our broken dreams, hopes, relationships, and promises—our unfulfilled desires. We must allow our hearts to express our pains; we need to mourn to experience joy. Mourning is a relief to our burden. It's freeing and liberating because we learn to bend our knees, lift our arms, and surrender everything to Him.

Jesus went out as usual to the Mount of Olives, and his disciples followed him. On reaching the place, he said to them, “Pray that you will not fall into temptation. He withdrew about a stone’s throw beyond them, knelt down and prayed, “Father, if you are willing, take this cup from me; yet not my will, but yours be done.” An angel from heaven appeared to him and strengthened him. And being in anguish, he prayed more earnestly, and his sweat was like drops of blood falling to the ground.

Luke 22:42

surrender

Father, if it is Your will, take this cup away from Me: Jesus knew what the Father’s will was, yet was in great agony of soul. The agony did not come from any lack of desire to do the will of God, but because Jesus would go to the cross as a sacrifice for sins. He was no victim of circumstances beyond His control, and unlike any animal sacrifice, He went with full knowledge. He willingly resolved to lay down His life. Nevertheless not My will, but Yours, be done: Jesus came to a point of decision in Gethsemane. It wasn’t that He had not decided nor consented before, but now He had come upon a unique point of decision. He drank the cup at Calvary, but the decision once for all to drink that cup came at Gethsemane. Enduring Word

In Mark 14:36, it says “Abba, Father,” he said, “everything is possible for you. Take this cup from me. Yet not what I will, but what you will.” As John 6:38 says, "For I have come down from heaven, not to do my own will but the will of him who sent me."

He did it all. He delights in doing the will of God.

Agonizing, weeping, and pleading—Jesus dealt with those emotions too, and surrendered his will through loud cries and tears. This Lent season, it's not just about remembering what he has done at the cross. It is a deliberate and careful heart-to-heart session with him. It's going after him because he's consistently going after our hearts. He has proven his love for us at Calvary, from the manger to the cross.

He was betrayed, denied, beaten, and mocked. We all know this, but it's important to speak up, ponder in our hearts, and truly desire to know him more.

Hope is arising!

And as we groan and as we wait, hope is arising. We will never be hopeless. As it is written, “I have told you these things, so that in me you may have peace. In this world you will have trouble. But take heart! I have overcome the world.” John 16:33

This world is full of broken people and each day sufferings come and go but he who promised is faithful. He has risen. The angel said to the women, “Do not be afraid, for I know that you are looking for Jesus, who was crucified.  He is not here; he has risen, just as he said. Come and see the place where he lay. (Matthew 28:5-6) As John 11:25-26 says, Jesus said to her, “I am the resurrection and the life. The one who believes in me will live, even though they die;  and whoever lives by believing in me will never die. Do you believe this?”

Christ has risen, and so we shall rise. St. Peter for a few seconds walked on the water, and the day will come when there will be a remade universe, infinitely obedient to the will of glorified and obedient men, when we can do all things, when we shall be those gods that we are described as being in Scripture. (The Grand Miracle)

Do you believe? Do you really desire his coming? Do you long for him more than earthly things? Do you long for heaven?

As it is written, Since, then, you have been raised with Christ, set your hearts on things above, where Christ is, seated at the right hand of God.  Set your minds on things above, not on earthly things. For you died, and your life is now hidden with Christ in God. When Christ, who is your life, appears, then you also will appear with him in glory. (Colossians 3:1-4)

Just like what John Piper said, "If you can't see the sun you will be impressed in the street light. If you've never felt thunder and lightning you'll be impressed with fireworks. And if you turn back on the greatness and majesty of God you'll fall in love with a world of shadows and short lived pleasures."

God doesn't need to prove His love for you, look at the cross.

For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life. (John 3:16)

 But God demonstrates his own love for us in this: While we were still sinners, Christ died for us. Since we have now been justified by his blood, how much more shall we be saved from God’s wrath through him! For if, while we were God’s enemies, we were reconciled to him through the death of his Son, how much more, having been reconciled, shall we be saved through his life! Not only is this so, but we also boast in God through our Lord Jesus Christ, through whom we have now received reconciliation. (Romans 5:8-11)

Our thanks are due to God for all temporal blessings; they are more than we deserve. But our thanks ought to go to God in thunders of hallelujahs for spiritual blessings. A new heart is better than a new coat. To feed on Christ is better than to have the best earthly food. To be an heir of God is better than being the heir of the greatest nobleman. To have God for our portion is blessed, infinitely more blessed than to own broad acres of land. God hath blessed us with spiritual blessings. These are the rarest, the richest, the most enduring of all blessings; they are priceless in value.” (Spurgeon)

Praise for Spiritual Blessings in Christ

Praise be to the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who has blessed us in the heavenly realms with every spiritual blessing in Christ. For he chose us in him before the creation of the world to be holy and blameless in his sight. In love he[b] predestined us for adoption to sonship[c] through Jesus Christ, in accordance with his pleasure and will— to the praise of his glorious grace, which he has freely given us in the One he loves. In him we have redemption through his blood, the forgiveness of sins, in accordance with the riches of God’s grace that he lavished on us. With all wisdom and understanding, he[d] made known to us the mystery of his will according to his good pleasure, which he purposed in Christ, 10 to be put into effect when the times reach their fulfillment—to bring unity to all things in heaven and on earth under Christ.

11 In him we were also chosen,[e] having been predestined according to the plan of him who works out everything in conformity with the purpose of his will, 12 in order that we, who were the first to put our hope in Christ, might be for the praise of his glory. 13 And you also were included in Christ when you heard the message of truth, the gospel of your salvation. When you believed, you were marked in him with a seal, the promised Holy Spirit, 14 who is a deposit guaranteeing our inheritance until the redemption of those who are God’s possession—to the praise of his glory.

Ephesians 1:3-14

If you are reading this, maybe it's time to break free from your lukewarm faith and cherish the delights of His Word. We tend to crave earthly things more than heavenly things, but let us desire the coming of Christ more than anything else that we are waiting for and which we think gives us value and worth in this world. As we walk through our journey of faith, may we give our whole heart and strive to live according to His Word. May we surrender our hearts and will to God, and have the courage to follow Jesus's example by saying to the Father, "Not my will but Yours." And when the time comes for us to take a leap of faith and pursue what God has specifically designed for us, may we do so with trust and obedience. This freedom is liberating, and though we may still experience pain and hardship, it won't last in eternity.

Remember, heaven is our true home. Sending you warm hugs!

In our deepest longings, deepest desires, and in the deepest region of our hearts may He finds us faithful to Him.

Enjoying the plains, the ordinary, the simplicity and quietness of life.

Just like this classic song, may He finds us faithful. Keep in mind tomorrow is never a promised, start chasing Jesus now.

How can we pray for you?


Published by Merrel Ya

A lady who has been pondering her hope into Christ, inhaling His grace, and enjoying the beauty of life. Writing about life, asking God about "kuliglig sa kanyang dibdib."

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