Have you ever found yourself yearning for more than this life?
Not dissatisfaction in my family. They are wonderful people. Not in provision. I have more than enough. Not in my circumstances. All was well. Just an overall, comprehensive, deep desire for more. More than this life. More than the here and now.
A desire for perfection in all its fullness, a wholeness and completion. A groaning for more that nothing on this earth can satisfy.
I think we have all felt it at some point. This is the reason we so often reach for earthly comforts and pleasures to satisfy us. It is also the reason we cannot always explain how we feel, overwhelmed by the obvious sense of lack within us. We have this profound longing for meaning, wholeness and forever satisfaction--perfection in body, mind and spirit.
And so we grasp for relationships. For possessions. For beauty. For adventure. For title and status. For accomplishments. For understanding. For freedom. Until we grow weary in our pursuit and begin again--because we still are dissatisfied.
If you are like me, you may be asking, What do I do with this yearning for more? If you are in a relationship with Jesus, the question runs even deeper still: Why do I yearn for more, even though I have everything in Christ?
Let us look to Romans 8 for understanding:
22 For we know that the whole creation has been groaning together in the pains of childbirth until now. 23 And not only the creation, but we ourselves, who have the firstfruits of the Spirit, groan inwardly as we wait eagerly for adoption as sons, the redemption of our bodies. 24 For in this hope we were saved. Now hope that is seen is not hope. For who hopes for what he sees? 25 But if we hope for what we do not see, we wait for it with patience.
Previous to these verses, Paul tells the church in Rome about their new identity as heirs of Christ's eternal kingdom. In order for this to be revealed, however, he says that they must "suffer with [Christ] in order that [they] may also be glorified with him" (8:17). This suffering is then more fully explained in the "groaning together in the pains of childbirth", which we read above.
So what is this "groaning"? It is the deep yearning for more our souls long to attain in this imperfect, earthly life in which nothing is complete, whole or perfect yet. It is a yearning to be with our God in glorious bodies in unending, wondrous eternity. It is a yearning to be all you were made to be!
Why do we groan, even as followers of Jesus? Because we are made for eternity, and we are not home yet!
Three more things we learn about our groaning from Romans 8:
ONE: Our groaning is evidence of eternity. Paul says, "And not only the creation, but we ourselves...groan". The inward yearning is shared by both followers of Christ and those who do not believe. We are all made by God, in His image, for more than this life. C.S. Lewis once said, “If we find ourselves with a desire that nothing in this world can satisfy, the most probable explanation is that we were made for another world".
TWO: Our groaning gives us a new perspective on this life. Earthly suffering can be so trying. So very exhausting and confusing and downright heartbreaking. But our sufferings in this life, when compared to the full glory that will abound in eternity, lose their power to destroy. Our deep need for more provides us a purpose for our sufferings. This change of perspective transforms us to live in light of eternity. Our identity stands not on the present trials we face, but on future promises.
THREE: Our groaning bears good fruit. Our identity is sanctified through and through as we suffer and groan and yearn for more. Paul tells us that we "hope" and "we wait for it with patience". God purposes our groaning to make us more like Him day by day, growing deep faith in us.
When we yearn, we reveal our true identities as God's people. Our desperate need for Him is glaring as we become more and more dissatisfied with the things of this life. We are made for more than this...so let us hope for what we do not see!
Glorious Father, We want so much more than this life. This desire is unquenchable by anything earthly. Please be the One to fill us with deep satisfaction until we reach eternity someday. Transform our minds to heavenly perspectives, and bear good fruit in us. We wait patiently for You, and we hope in deep faith.
When have you found yourself yearning for more? How does this affirm your identity in Christ?