Soren Kierkegaard, the great Danish theologian of another century, tells the story of a prince who was running an errand for his father one day in the local village. As he did so, he passed through a very poor section of the town. Looking through the window of his carriage, he saw a beautiful young peasant girl walking along the street. He could not get her off his heart. He continued to come to the town, day after day, just to see her and to feel as though he was near her.
His heart yearned for her, but there was a problem. How could he develop a relationship with her? He could order her to marry him. It was in his power to do so. But he wanted this girl to love him from the heart, willingly. He could put on his royal garments and impress her with his regal entourage, and drive up to her front door with soldiers and a carriage drawn by six horses. But if he did this he would never be certain that the girl loved him or was simply overwhelmed with his power, position and wealth.
The prince came up with another solution. As you may have guessed, he gave up his kingly robe and symbols of power and privilege. He moved into the village dressed only as a peasant. He lived among the people, shared their interests and concerns, and talked their language. In time, the young peasant girl grew to know him, and then to love him.
This story is a fitting illustration of how God yearns for His people. He can’t take His mind off of us, nor does He want to. He wants to win our love, not by force, but by grace and mercy. He will not force us or try to impress us with His credentials, instead He humbled Himself to take on the form of a servant so that He might win our hearts.
He asks that we yearn for Him in return, not out of a sense of duty or obligation, but because we have come to know Him and trust Him. He longs for us to feel like the Psalmist in Psalm 84:2 that reads, “My soul longs, yes, faints for the courts of the Lord; my heart and flesh sing for joy to the living God.”
Because this kind of yearning is so powerful, the devil works on us to steal this joy. He reminds us of our shortcomings, he whispers in our ears all of our faults. He wants us to fail, so he clouds in our minds all that God has done to win our hearts.
Yet God is stronger than anything the devil is capable of. His grace is boundless and His mercy never ends. Even when we have proven ourselves unworthy of His love He promises to renew our hearts.
In Ezekiel 36:26 God responds to His rebellious people this way saying to those who yearn for Him, “And I will give you a new heart, and a new spirit I will put within you. And I will remove the heart of stone from your flesh and give you a heart of flesh.” Even in our darkest moments, God hears our yearning hearts and raises us up to newness of life.
Our call is to patient and vigilant, with yearning hearts that are willing and able to overcome all of the devil’s whispers. He yearns also for us to love Him so much we can’t get Him off our hearts, and He will come day by day with His invitation to glory. He longs for us to honestly says as the Psalmist does in Psalm 73:26, “My flesh and my heart may fail, but God is the strength of my heart and my portion forever.”
Are you at a place in your life that you yearn for Christ? If not, what had stopped you from knowing Him more? Has the world stolen too much of your affection? Has selfishness made you yearn for other things before God?
Get to know Him and come to understand more fully His love for you. Read how He yearns for you and the measures he has taken to prove it. Strengthen your relationship with His Son and trust in Him to lead you to everlasting peace. Please pray with me:
Heavenly Father, thank you for yearning for our affection and help us to return that affection by yearning for You. Keep us on the path to salvation even as we live in this broken world and help us to depend on You in all things. Amen.