Inherently, we desire companionship; and frequently, it comes in the form of craving or aching. In moments of emotional discomfort, we cling to the physical world. We search for tangible amenities that can soothe our raw hearts and satisfy the longing we feel we can’t control. We reach out, hoping to catch anything that’s available to tell us we belong, to have an intimacy that silences the loneliness and degrading thoughts. We idolize relationships, marriage, elders, siblings, etc. that we look to for a sense of wholeness, to talk to and be talked at, to connect and agree, to share in laughter and in cries. A hand to hold or someone to hug. We idolize them, and fall apart when it’s taken away.
When you dissect this concept, there’s one thing in common: palpable interaction. Concrete assurance and reassurance that that person is there in front of you, loving you, and fueling you. We thrust our hope, trust, and expectations into those that we tangibly love because it produces immediate and clear feedback. We rely on them to satisfy all our wishes and confirm all of our emotional tantrums- so when that person is no longer around, or they’re having a bad day, we fall to pieces, we feel empty, we feel alone.
We idolize them for things of this world that is impossible to capture fruitfully and honestly. We put them high up on a pedestal so that when they show flaws or discontentment we show them frustration rather than grace. We search them for answers and when we walk away without them we find disapproval in our hearts.
We are looking around us with every loved one in our life at a very specific level and height in our minds; we base it on who we cling to for gratitude, for hope, for strength, and then adjust for how often we need to see them and be with them. We are prizing these people, and forgetting to place God anywhere.
Psalm 107:9 For he satisfies the longing soul, and the hungry soul he fills with good things.
John 6:35 Jesus said to them “I am the bread of life; whoever comes to me shall not hunger, and whoever believes in me shall not thirst.”
We are starved for companionship. We quench for intimacy. We run off love. Our hearts and minds function off these things, but these things have been provided and perfected in Christ alone, not those we place delicately on a pedestal. Our longing soul is filled with what our savior did for us, that is enough. Our strength is built up on the words our Father above laid in our laps to soak up and follow. Our hope is confirmed and untouchable in the grueling symbol of the cross.
We allow ourselves to forget that He alone satisfies, and He alone appeases. He who created us is the only one that can sustain us, yet we run to those here. If we determine our joy off another human, whose heart is not led by Christ, then are we not continuing to fuel ourselves with things not of God? Even if they are a follower of Christ, are we not essentially saying “God you aren’t enough, I need to feel loved by my spouse first.”
Our obsession with tangible attributes and accolades have led our hearts to fumble in where to put our focus and longing. But to me, tangible has a couple of connotations. While most use it for the obvious, physical touch. I view the word as in an embodied connection. In other words, a very real and distinctive sense of contact.
Consider that definition, and study this verse:
Genesis 2:7 then the Lord God formed the man of dust from the ground and breathed into his nostrils the breath of life, and the man became a living creature.
Can we truly get more intimate than that?
When I allow myself to meditate on the power in this truth, I am shaken to my knees in humbling realization, God is in us, one with us, completely a part of us- how can we possible cling to anything other than him?
When we feel dissatisfied, broken down, and alone, we need to search our hearts for what it is we believe fuels those emotions. If we are putting our hope and strength in our significant other or a good friend, we have failed ourselves on this point. We first run to God, going to Him for that intimate connection and flow of courage, because it is Him alone that satisfies us. Our community is a gift, fellowship and journeying a gift, and it is beautiful, but not our sole provider. We go to those people in our life to encourage us and challenge us, not to sustain us. We must not allow our hearts to rely on the physical mending of relationships here, but rather the indestructible connection with Christ. When He is our base, we can genuinely and fruitfully go to our brothers and sisters in Christ for help. There is a big difference, but essentially God needs to be the only one on a pedestal, and everyone else has two feet on the ground, right next you, looking to Him for everything.