“My very being longs for, even yearns, for the Lord’s courtyards. My heart and body will rejoice out loud to the living God.” Psalm 84:2 CEB
An eager, urgent desire or longing for something or someone. This is the definition of yearning. We don’t use this word very often in our everyday speech. When someone asks what we would like for lunch we do not usually respond, “I have a yearning for a chicken sandwich.” So, this word stands out a little bit when we see it. When the psalmist writes that his “very being longs for, even yearns, for the Lord’s courtyards” it gives us pause. Why does he long for the courtyards of the Lord? Why does the psalmist have this eager, urgent desire to be in God’s courtyards? The psalmist writes that his yearning is so strong that his “heart and body will rejoice out loud to the living God.” This is a visceral reaction to the presence of God in the courtyards of the Lord’s house.
Have you experienced this type of yearning? A yearning where your very being experiences an urgent, eager desire to be somewhere or with someone. I remember when Debbie and I were first dating she had to travel to New Jersey for two weeks of training. The longer she was away the more I truly yearned to be with her when she returned. Of course, I still yearn to be with her but the feelings were more intense in those first months of being together. Perhaps you have someone, someplace, or some moment for which you still yearn. What a blessing to have such strong, urgent feelings leading us.
It is my belief that we are missing this yearning in our culture when it comes to Jesus. I have spoken with people over the years who long for spiritual experiences. I have spoken with people over the years who have desired a sense of purpose in their life. I have also spoken with people over the years who believe there is something greater than themselves but cannot come to believe it is Jesus. I believe that what we need in our church, and all churches, is to remember what it is like to yearn for Jesus. I believe we need to have an urgent, eager desire to be with Jesus. I believe we are in need of realizing our need for Jesus. Most of us do not have a need for more food, shelter, clothing, or other material goods. We can provide for our basic needs pretty well. Do we fully realize just how much we need Jesus? Another way of saying this is to ask the question, “If you were to lose your house, your car, your money, your job would you feel the same about Jesus as you do now?” I believe most would not. I believe most people, given that situation, would find that they need Jesus more than they could have ever imagined. I believe that their very being would long for, even yearn, for Jesus like never before.
The psalmist was most likely writing the 84th Psalm as a praise to God who dwells among the people. God, and the temple, were central to the story of Israel. The people of God had experienced exile, oppression, suffering, and shame. The psalmist longed to be in the one place that Israel was certain that God resides. This desire demonstrated how much Israel, the people of God, needed God. It should be the same with the followers of Jesus today. We should long to be in the presence of God every moment of every day. And when we come to weekend worship we come with an eager, urgent desire to be in the dwelling place of the Lord of heavenly forces. We are so excited that our hearts and bodies rejoice in loud praise to the Lord!
Do you have an eager, urgent yearning to experience the presence of Jesus today? Today is the day to fully realize how much you need Jesus! Without Jesus we are all sinners lost in our sin. With Jesus we are saved, forgiven, and free. We are all sinners in need of a Savior. When we fully realize our need for Jesus we will yearn to be in his presence. Do you have that yearning for Jesus today? I pray that we all experience that yearning in our heart and life today!
This weekend we have a guest speaker, Rev. Beth Bostrom, who will be delivering a message entitled In Search of Home. Beth is the Director of Spiritual Formation for Metropolitan Ministries in Tampa. I look forward to having Pastor Beth with us and hearing the message God has given her for us. I hope you will join us this week and every week. The best is ahead for St. Andrew’s. I can’t wait to see you in church!