When I was 15 I came to faith in a radical way. I absorbed everything that was about God, Jesus or the Holy Spirit like a sponge. There were few Christian events that I was not a participant in and during the worship services I towered over the rest of the room. Not just because of my height, but because I was so eager to jump! With calls I ran to the front and if there was prayer to be received somewhere I was at the front of the line; I wanted to do everything I could to be as close to the glory and presence of God as possible and I gave everything for that! First love That first time being completely blown away by who Jesus is and what he has done for me… it changed my life forever! You could compare it to feelings of love, every time you meet the other person something happens inside and as soon as you leave the other person you long for the next meeting. But what do you do when you find out that following Jesus does not consist of moments that are cool and special, but is a walk of life that is not always about how you feel? What do you do when you no longer experience God and the moments that you may have lived on for years no longer give you the same strength as when you experienced them? Non-sparkling soft drinks I came to such a point last fall. And I had long since discovered that life with Jesus is not just moments. But my desire for Him felt like half a bottle of soda that had been in the refrigerator for a week and had no spark left in it. One Sunday evening I came home from a speaking engagement and prayed to God, “Lord, I long to long for You again,” and as I said it, all I experienced was that this longing was absent from my heart. Old beliefs started to flash through my thoughts: ‘Can you say that as a speaker?’ and ‘You are an example, aren’t you? Then you have to show that you long for God.’ ‘Jesus Have It All’ I found myself in a situation where I had been expecting God to do something for months, and it didn’t happen. The questions ran through my mind again, and disappointment settled in my heart. A day later I listened to the song ‘Jesus Have It All’ by Jeremy Riddle. While I was so disappointed and sad, I still felt God’s invitation to bring those emotions to Him. It was as if the penny suddenly dropped that God is not looking for someone who longs for Him because this is part of being a good Christian, but rather longs for someone who can come home to the Father with his raw emotions. By saying and singing: ‘all my days, all my life, have it all!’ While I still had so many questions, I was allowed to discover that surrender is not a prison of obedience, but a powerful step to say to God again: ‘Here I am, and if You are God then I want to trust You even though I understand it. none of it’. He is not shocked by my frustration or disappointment, but rather wants to comfort and connect. Comforter And you know what was so special? That desire that I had not experienced for so long seemed to arise again in that very place! While I preferred to distance myself from God out of frustration, I discovered that through my vulnerability towards Him, I put myself back in the position to allow the Holy Spirit to come into that pain and disappointment. By coming into his presence and being bluntly honest, hope, connection and freedom arose. Longing for God can feel like something that is periodic, but which requires one action: do you and I dare to put ourselves in the place where the Holy Spirit can touch us again? Can we give Him permission to come close and comfort us? After all, it is the meaning of his name, and he is the safest place to come. The meeting Look at how Jesus dealt with Zacchaeus, or the Samaritan woman. In the encounter with Jesus their lives changed completely! Jesus did not start with a confrontation with sins or a judgment on their lives, but He started with an encounter with unconditional love: Jesus himself! Longing for God does not have to come from your toes, but can be an invitation to step into His presence and meet Him. In that encounter He lets you know who you are, how He views you and how much He loves you. From that connection with Him, He teaches us how to follow Him. The invitation I want to invite you into His presence, He sees better than anyone else where you are now and longs to meet you! Coming home to the Father is not returning to God with all your mistakes and failures, coming home is rediscovering who you have always been. You are His daughter, His son, holy, accepted, recognized, loved, wanted and so much more than I can tell you in this blog. I would say: receive the words of God the Father himself! I’m sure He wants to say them to you. Dare to be honest and vulnerable, because there is strength in that! Take the time to meet Him. If you have read Martin Dol’s previous blog, you may have already found a rhythm in which you have time with God. Take time in that place to sit at His Father’s Heart and receive the words He wants to speak about you. Please let us know in the comments what this was like for you and what you discovered.