The desire to be successful. The desire to be married. The desire to sing on a stage. The desire to have kids. The desire to have more freedom in our work. The desire to make more money.
It would take a long time to list all the things that we long after.
Longing is a beautiful thing. C.S. Lewis helped me see that longing has a kind of magic to it. A sense of possibility and hope. But longing is also a painful ache. It’s often a heavy weight — and many men and women crack under the weight of longing.
That’s why I like the King James version of the verse below:
Other versions talk about how David is “consumed” with longing or “continually overcome” with longing — but there is just something about seeing David’s soul break under the weight of longing that startles me.
I’m startled because, as we’ve seen, the concept of cracking and breaking under the weight of longing resonates with my own experience and with what I’ve seen others experience. I’m just not sure that I’ve seen many people cracking under the weight of longing after God’s judgments. In fact, most people I know tend to recoil at the thought of God’s judgements.
That’s likely because we don’t realize that God’s judgements are perfect and will make all things right again. When God’s judgements are revealed, we won’t recoil — we will celebrate and cheer. If possible, I think we will cry tears of joy. When Jesus comes again to rule as King — everything wrong will be made right by His judgments. I’m starting to long for that even as I write — how about you?
But we don’t have to wait for His final judgement. If we believe that His final judgment will be good — then it’s not too far of a stretch to believe that His judgment today is also good. We have a whole Book telling us what God judges to be good and right — and what He judges to be evil and wicked.
Just two verses earlier, David was desperate to have his eyes opened to behold wonderful things from God’s instruction. (Link to “More Than We Can See” post) His cry for his eyes to be opened was rooted in his longing after the judgements of God.
I’ve recently been all to aware of what I long after — and I don’t like it. I blame this journey through Psalm 119 — taking a good long look at David’s longing for the Word of God and all that it provides brings my own longing for other things into the light and exposes them.
Maybe this journey is illuminating the longings of your heart as well. Another way to discover the longings of your heart is to examine the things you tend to pray about. That’s how we are discovering the longings of David — by examining this long, poetic prayer.