Each time we see or taste of Jesus, He takes more of our hearts as His own. And later we are left to wonder why He took a part of us, and then left our hearts to long for Him even more than they did before. A coming that not only brings consolation but evokes deeper craving. As though His desire was not just in the answering us with His presence, but in the leaving behind that which would grope for Him in His absence.
John of the Cross expressed the dilemma so well,
Why, since you wounded
this heart, don’t you heal it?
And why, since you stole it from me,
do you leave it so,
and fail to carry off what you have stolen?
He reveals Himself, so beautiful, so sweet, so other-than. And we are never the same, whether revelation bitter or sweet. Our whole interior and atmosphere alters with the piercing light of His face, with the sweetness of His unutterable tenderness. And all is forever different than it was before.
And thus, for me I find that when He leaves again, and my heart once more finds itself in wilderness winds, I am not the same. I cannot face the wilderness in the same way again. In the test of His absence – when I no longer sense His presence – and even when distractions come, I cannot respond as I might have before His coming.
My soul and my flesh, those always last to cleave to the eternal and first to run to the temporal – even these thirst and long for Him, having seen Him. The world no longer possessing the ability to comfort, even for a moment. For my consolation is Him only. If He does not answer, I am not answered. All that seeks to allure my soul and flesh are to me as a dry and thirsty land, a land without water (Psalm 63: 4). Bitter to me is the thought of somehow settling for the wine of this world and all its momentary pleasures. A heart that chases these surely does not possess the piercing memory of the all-surpassing One.
Mine will not be the testimony of, “I waited and He did not answer, so I settled for the secondary.” He has stolen too much of my heart for it to be so. If He does not answer my hunger, I am not answered, for my only answer is Him. There is no second plan, nothing to settle in to. My thirsts and my hungers all singular. Exclusive in their aim.
Though open, and raw and vulnerable, my waiting heart will be consoled by the living God – by my Beloved Jesus – or it will not be consoled. This is my sacred vow to Him in the waiting.
I will not give my longings to another, will not give the space made by hunger to lesser loves. My soul waits on God alone. If He does not answer, then I am unanswered.
For even if He tarries, He will come. And when He comes, better that He find me in the wilderness of waiting then as one who gave up in the waiting, blaming Him for not answering or not coming soon enough. Better that He find me in the stillness of one who believes Him than in the busyness of one who found the testing of waiting too rigorous, and abandoned it. Love never does such things, not if it is real. Love waits. Love longs. And love never gives up its watchfulness, nor yields to any other consolation, though the night be long.
Blessed are the hungry. Only the hungry get Jesus.