The longings of God

by | Sep 20, 2023 | September 2023 | 0 comments

As humans, we all have longings. The dictionary defines longing as “a strong desire especially for something unattainable: craving.” Longings can be good and they can also be bad, depending on the object of the longing. I’ve noticed a lot of writers like to say God has longings – to speak to us, to care for us, to help us when we are in trouble, or even just to bring us closer to him. But if you go by the dictionary definition, you might get the idea he is just like us – he has unattainable desires and is always in a state of frustration because he can’t have what he wants. Or that he’s waiting for us to “give him permission” or “allow” him to work in us or “to have his way” with us. 

I think you know where this is going. I have to say it again – how we speak about God is very important because it influences how we think about God and who he is. And when we use certain phrases around people who aren’t sure who God is, we can lead them in the wrong direction. There are already so many misconceptions about him, we certainly don’t want to add to them. It’s probably safe to say that God does have desires, but not the same kind or in the same way as us. I doubt he has longings the way we define them and if we think he does, we would be in danger of anthropomorphizing him. 

As God is a spirit being, with no physical form, it is sometimes helpful for the sake of human understanding to anthropomorphize him a bit. The Bible does it in reference to him having a face, hands and even a backside! We know him as a father, a mother hen with her chicks and as a shepherd. These help us know him as a loving, compassionate and personal being. But we must never forget Isaiah 55:8-9, where God reminds us: “For my thoughts are not your thoughts, neither are your ways my ways,” declares the Lord. “As the heavens are higher than the earth, so are my ways higher than your ways and my thoughts than your thoughts.” (NIV).

Maybe it’s more cool to talk about God’s longings than his will, which is “the faculty by which a person decides on and initiates action,” but it might be a better way to describe how he works. What he “longs” for is not unattainable, but will be accomplished, because when he decides and initiates action, his will will be done.

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