Worship Is Longing
by Brett Barry
Search me, O God, and know my heart; test me, and know my anxious thoughts. See if there is any offensive way in me, and lead me in the way everlasting. PS 139:23-24
Father, God, what's at the depths of Your heart today?
I ask Him this question often. Sometimes daily. Sometimes moment-by-moment, even though I know the answer – because it’s always the same.
Yes, I can hear it, “If I already know what he’s going to say, why ask?”
It’s not that I suffer from short-term memory issues (although my wife would seriously argue that), it’s just that, like you perhaps, I tend to become easily distracted (often, sometimes daily, sometimes moment-by-moment) with the much doing of life – work, relationships, family duties, dreams and goals, with disappointment over things lost, or over the appearance of things lost – even with the new set of distractions that come with each answered prayer. In this place, we stand to lose a great deal – godly perspective, peace, joy, vision, well-being, hope, purpose and, ultimately, our identity.
So what’s his unchanging answer to my often-asked question? Inevitably, He responds, “Your heart.”
“Yes, your heart. Reconciliation! Part C! Humanity once again face to face with Me in unhindered relationship – the way it was in the beginning! The only thing standing in the way of My heart’s desire is your heart’s desire. As the crown of My creation, My mission is for you to know the fullness of My intent for you. I want you to have life to the full, to know it the way it was before sin! I want you to be with Me... and to want Me the way I want you. So I am always about drawing the affection of your heart in order to advance My kingdom on earth. I long for you; do you long for Me?”
In Psalm 139, David proclaimed the vastness of God and His love for us by observing how He knows everything about us, our thoughts, desires, purpose in life – even the words we speak before we speak them. In essence, he was saying, “Lord, You know me in every way. And, as far as I can tell, there’s nothing between us – no intent or action hindering our relationship. But, since You know me better than I know myself, please, ‘Search me and know my heart; test me, and know my anxious thoughts. See if there is any offensive way in me, and lead me in the way everlasting.’ God, deliver me from my enemies, and, even more so, deliver me from myself.”
It’s God’s deepest desire that we would nurture this same longing – to remain vulnerable before Him and honest enough with ourselves to say, “Search me, know me and lead me according to Your way. I’ve got to be with You at any cost!” While we are to affirm our identity in Christ, we also have to remember our wayward tendencies, and that the reality is we are joining Him in His mission and that we’re the ones who get confused (even at our best, we only see in part).
In light of this truth, I ask God what’s on His heart to help align myself to His perspective, to His will and priority. Really, it’s a strategy for protecting my heart and the deposit He has entrusted to me, because as I consider His answer it sets off a chain reaction that flushes to the surface any area in my heart that is not in agreement with Him. It helps identify the hindrances in our relationship, which He then helps me remove. And my longing for Him grows.
So, I ask, He answers…and by His grace (power), I adjust – my thinking, actions, heart desire, goals, dreams, passion, motives, etc. – I move forward in Christ, His kingdom advances and His return is hastened. And, very soon, we will meet face to face. And as I fall into His indescribable embrace, He'll say, "Well done My good and faithful servant... enter into the joy of your Lord."
Or, maybe He'll just close His eyes, breathe a heavy sigh, and smile.