Musings from a Madman: The Mystery of Relationship (Part 5)

The missing element for most Christians in their relationship with God is desperation. Most have as much of God as they want at any given moment. The problem is not availability but desire—they don’t want any more. You can have as much of God as you want, but it depends on you—whether or not you are willing to pay the price of pursuing him. Grace is free—salvation was purchased and paid for by Christ, but relationship is hard work and it requires a great deal of desperation on our part.

Desperation is a signal that something indispensable is missing and the hunger for it cannot be quenched by anything else. Most of us are not desperate because we are still stuffing anything and everything in that God-created void only he call fill. Many have a false sense of satisfaction feeling that everything is alright, but that pseudo sense of confidence can vanish in the blink of an eye with one hiccup of a heartbeat, a single word from a spouse, or lump located in a place where lumps don’t belong. All of a sudden, what once satisfied no longer does and you become desperate.

This kind of desperation utters a hungry cry that is amazingly similar and has remained so over the centuries. The psalmist put it this way in Psalm 42:1-2: “As the deer pants (longs for) for the water brooks, so my soul pants (longs for) for God, for the living God; when shall I come and appear (see your face) before God?” St. Augustine, a fourth century church father and bishop, put it his way, “Thou hast made us for Thyself, O Lord, and our hearts are restless until they rest in Thee.” Blaise Pascal, a seventeen century mathematician and Christian philosopher, wrote, “There is a God-shaped vacuum in the heart of man which cannot be filled by any created thing but only God, the Creator, made known through Jesus.” These men understood that only God can satisfy that gnawing in the gut of our spirit, but far too many seek to satisfy that craving with drugs, alcohol, sex, jobs, hobbies, money, power, and a million other things that won’t fit or start to fill up the emptiness.

Are you desperate—for God? Do you have a burning desire to know him—to be with him? Is there a ravenous hunger or a voracious thirst that relentlessly drives you toward him? If not, something is terribly wrong in your relationship with God. Most Christians are not desperate. They have gorged themselves on religious fluff rather than experiencing God in a full relationship. They are stuffed, but no satisfied. Many have been taught that you “get it all” at salvation. Everything does become available once we come to Christ in faith, but not everything is automatic. Some things require that you stretch up on your tip-toes and retrieve it from the top shelf. In other word, here it is, come and get it.

Salvation is the front door of God’s house. Once you come to Christ you step through that front door and into the foyer of his grace, but God’s house is filled with countless rooms filled with unimaginable experiences and delights, just waiting to be explored. Salvation gives you access to the foyer, but relationship will take you on an unbelievable tour of the whole house. Sadly, there’s a glut of people camped out in the foyer who are convinced they have arrived and this is it—all there is. It’s not, so please keep moving!

True desperation is a state of despair that typically results in rash, extreme, or even dangerous behavior. Desperate people do desperate things. Content people twiddle their thumbs, sit on their contented little cans, and do nothing. Desperate people will go to extremes to satisfy their hunger or thirst for God (extremes are what comfortable church people call those measures that seen a little fanatical and out of the ordinary). When you’re desperate, you go looking for God under every rock and behind every bush. You pursue and track him like a bloodhound that refuses to give up the scent. Giving up is not an option if you’re really desperate.

What about you? Are you really desperate—or just bored?