"Some folks manage quite well to resist temptation to obvious sin without ever becoming aware of their thirst. And that, of course, is commendable. Resisting sin is always the right thing to do. But for someone out of touch with his thirst, the source of the strength required to avoid obvious sin is usually some combination of self-discipline, time in Scripture and prayer, support and expectations from a community of Christian friends, a healthy concern for the consequences of moral lapse, and a sincere commitment to behave as God commands. The result of living in dependence upon the elements of this impressive list is (at best) a blameless life characterized by high standards, sacrificial commitment, tireless service, and rigidity. When Christians honor their lofty calling without passionately experiencing and embracing the deep ache in their souls, something important, even vital, is lost. Their approach to people is less human, less real, less "there." Often they instruct, motivate, and challenge others, but their lives fail to draw people to the Lord. They push more than entice.The most honest look into my innermost core reveals little solid truth. What I find most is an unsatiated desire for meaning, for purpose, and for love. I have been most acutely aware of these longings during this time of transition, where many of the external things in which I found significance have been stripped away. Previously, this pain was suppressed by a flurry of activity and a compulsion to appear happy, but the buffers have been removed. All I know for sure is that these deepest longings cannot be fulfilled by any earthly channel.
Unfeigned love, something hard to define but unmistakable in its impact, can spring only from the deepest parts of our soul. That part of us that longs to be loved and keenly feels every disappointment is the only part of our being from which we can richly love others, including God. To look away from profound disappointment requires that we lose touch with the liveliest part of who we are. Protection against pain blunts our capacity to love."
I have journeyed further away than I ever wanted to go in order to rediscover a faith that was so easily demolished. A house of cards it was. Finally I can say that the reconstruction has begun. These new foundations feel more solid, but I have no idea what is being built. I feel like a maker of mud huts witnessing the early stages of a skyscraper being erected. Nothing in my experience can predict what will come next, knowing only that it just might be wonderful.
"Lonely people fill our churches. They attend Sunday school, chat socially at church dinners, and interact meaningfully in small group Bible studies. They often feel reasonably happy, enjoying whatever is pleasant and pressing on despite the rest. But there are moments, moments when a sense of emptiness pierces them like a sword. They may weep, then recover, and get on with life. When a Christian filled with passion speaks to them, they feel strangely stirred. A part of their soul that has lain dormant, sometimes for decades, is touched. A trickle of cool water runs down their throat, making them aware of how thirsty and parched they have been. Hope revives: Maybe life could be more than pleasant. Maybe it could mean something. Perhaps it's possible to feel deeply alive - struggling, sometimes severely - but alive!"
-Larry Crabb, Inside Out