Every ache is telling us something important, but we miss it.
It’s not that we don’t try. Goodness knows, we attempt a million varieties of pleasure to address the ache. But few ever hear what the ache is really after.
Jesus hears the ache clearly.
Why? Because he put it there.
Let me say that again: Jesus put the ache in us.
And he wants to satisfy it. As we suspend our demand for the million varieties of pleasure, he heals our ears to hear the ache clearly as he does. It’s calling for connection—a deep, naked, lasting connection.
Deep – Distance doesn’t cut it for us. We’re after a connection that involves being intertwined with another, becoming one with another.
Naked – We may be drawn to an image, but the ache wants the real. We want to see and be seen. No clothes, no lies, no secrets, and no shame.
Lasting – No great love story ends with “happily for a while after.” The ache throbs for a love that goes on and on.
But where on earth does this happen?
The best marriage—including the sexual intimacy between husband and wife—offers the closest version and helps satisfy the ache.
But marriage is not the answer to the ache; it is only a whisper of the answer.
Jesus put the ache in us, he does not snuff it out, and he is tenderly attentive to it.
Because ultimately it is an ache for him.
Scripture begins with a wedding between man and woman. It ends with the wedding of Christ and His Bride. This union, though not sexual, is deep, naked, and lasting.
Wherever you are in life, your deepest ache is calling for union with him. Now and in the age to come. The question that remains is, will you listen?
I’d love your thoughts. Leave a comment below.
P.S. Christians can make the mistake of shaking our heads at those “million kinds of pleasure” and criticizing ourselves or others for wanting them. But then, that’s not listening to the ache either.
This reminds me of comment in “The Weight of Glory”, by C.S. Lewis. I highlight these phrases from this quote below which validates the idea that “the ache” is from God, a gift to be listened to:
* the vague desire is my only pointer to heaven
* hoping for the Glory (weightiness and perfection and beauty) both reveals the true character of my desire and will satisfy my desire
* the desire is “is no mere neurotic fancy, but the truest index of our real situation”
* the desire is “our lifelong nostalgia, our longing to be reunited with something in the universe from which we now feel cut off, to be on the inside of some door which we have always seen from the outside,
See fuller quote below. Thank you for the reminder to not hate “the parts of myself of which I am most ashamed and which are most vulnerable”, but to see my weaknesses as tools to draw me to Jesus.
“If I had rejected the authoritative and scriptural image of glory and stuck obstinately to the vague desire which was, at the outset, my only pointer to heaven, I could have seen no connexion at all between that desire and the Christian promise.
I find, to my great surprise, looking back, that the connexion is perfectly clear. Glory, as Christianity teaches me to hope for it, turns out to satisfy my original desire and indeed to reveal an element in that desire which I had not noticed.
[In] the New Testament…we are warned that it may happen to any one of us to appear at last before the face of God and hear only the appalling words: “I never knew you. Depart from Me.” In some sense, as dark to the intellect as it is unendurable to the feelings, we can be
both banished from the presence of Him who is present everywhere and erased from the knowledge of Him who knows all. We can be left utterly and absolutely outside—repelled, exiled, estranged, finally and unspeakably ignored. On the other hand, we can be called in, welcomed, received, acknowledged. We walk every day on the razor edge between these two incredible
possibilities. Apparently, then, our lifelong nostalgia, our longing to be reunited with something in the universe from which we now feel cut off, to be on the inside of some door which we have always seen from the outside, is no mere neurotic fancy, but the truest index of our real situation. And to be at last summoned inside would be both glory and honour beyond all our merits and also the healing of that old ache.
Some day, God willing, we shall get in. When human souls have become as perfect in voluntary obedience as the inanimate creation is in its lifeless obedience, then they will put on its glory, or rather that greater glory of which Nature is only the first sketch. For you must
not think that I am putting forward any heathen fancy of being absorbed into Nature. Nature is mortal; we shall outlive her. When all the suns and nebulae have passed away, each one of you will still be alive. Nature is only the image, the symbol; but it is the symbol Scripture invites me to use. We are summoned to pass in through
Nature, beyond her, into that splendour which she fitfully reflects.
So so true. This blog so ministers to me. I don’t always get a chance to respond, but tHank you for the reminders of God’s goodness and purpose and presence in our pain and aches. Till I reach Home…
Julie, thanks for taking the time to respond. I need reminders of His goodness, purpose, and presence, too. Blessings, sister.
You nailed it. I SOOOOOOOO identify with the ache you describe. And it is building. It seems nearly insatiable…I said nearly.
But that is just because we are not fully with Him yet. Other loves, other touches, other intimacies do not fully satisfy.
It IS the way we were created. And then there are the losses along the way. The ones who were supposed to love us well and couldn’t. The ones WE are supposed to love well, and we haven’t. The loves we’ve tried, or stolen in an attempt to fill a place only He can fill. Oh the ache!
Come quickly Lord Jesus.
Thanks, Annette. May His presence now give us grace to walk with the ache rather than run from it, and may our love be purified in the process.
Thank you so much Josh for your blog ! Each one rings true with my heart. God is so good to put an ache in us for Him. In our arrogance, we may not pay attention as closely without the ache. Although I can’t be a part of the ministry this year, I do appreciate your ministry more than you could ever know. Until the work is done in us through Christ, Jacqui