Genesis 1:26-27: “Then God said, ‘let us make man in our image, after our likeness…’ So God created man in His own image, in the image of God He created him; male and female He created them.”
We were created in the image of God. Have you ever pondered the implications of this? While there are many different implications, let’s look at community and connection. More specifically, let’s look at our community and connection with the Lord. All three persons of the triune God that we worship are perfectly connected to each other, and at one point we also had perfect community and connection with God. Because of sin, that connection was severed and unfortunately will never be the same until Jesus returns. But since we are created in the image of God there is a desire for community and connection that is so deeply woven into our being that we are constantly responding to it. Where we are on this spectrum changes constantly, but there are three responses to this desire.
…since we are created in the image of God there is a desire for community and connection that is so deeply woven into our being that we are constantly responding to it. Where we are on this spectrum changes constantly, but there are three responses to this desire.
First, we rejoice in the presence of God. Psalm 5:11 says, “But let all who take refuge in you rejoice; let them ever sing for joy, and spread your protection over them, that those who love your name may exult in you.” When we push into this desire and catch a glimpse of how things were supposed to be, before sin, we feel incredible joy and cannot help but rejoice in God’s presence. The times in our lives where we feel connected to God, the times where we serve radically and feel this comfort of God’s presence, shows us we are living in a way where our deepest desires are intimately met. As Paul puts it in Philippians 4:4, “Rejoice in the Lord always; again I will say, rejoice.” We are created for a deep and intimate connection with God, and when that need is met, we rejoice.
As we all know, that is not always the case. For some of us, that first response to this need is rare. The second response is a mourning in the absence of this connection. In the Psalms, we see David pleading with God to avoid these times. Psalm 51:11 says, “Cast me not away from your presence, and take not your Holy Spirit from me.” But, as we all know, there are many times in life where we feel like David felt in Psalm 13:1, “How long, O Lord? Will you forget me forever? How long will you hide your face from me?” Even though we KNOW that God promises to never leave us nor forsake us, we have times in our lives where we do not feel the intimate connection that we so deeply desire. Our sin separates us from God, and when we feel the weight and distance of that separation, we are moved to mourning. If this is where you are, take heart. Jesus says in Matthew 5:4, “Blessed are those who mourn, for they shall be comforted.” This verse is not necessarily speaking to mourning in a worldly way, but mourning after God. Jesus’ words tell us that it is a blessed thing to desire a deep connection with God and to mourn when we do not sense it. Mourning, in this sense, shows that we are plugged in to our deep desire of intimate connection with our Creator.
There is a third response. Could this be the one we find ourselves in the most, even when we don’t realize it? This third response is numbing ourselves to this desire all together. I know for me, I am quite good at this. We are content with “making it” through the day. We don’t do anything spectacular or terrible, but we live seemingly “normal” lives. For me it looks like getting lost in “binging” on Netflix, or ESPN, or even the news. And when I think about it, I wonder why we numb ourselves by default, even without realizing it. It is because we do not tap in to our desire for this deep connection out of some fear that we will be in category two. Mourning isn’t “fun” or “enjoyable” so we avoid it. But if we are honest, do we not fear category one as well? Because if we experience this deep connection with God, He will require us to live a certain way, which will pull us out of our comfort zones. So we numb the desire and are satisfied with merely surviving. When we do that, we miss the blessing it is to desire this connection and the experience of true rejoicing, or we miss the blessing of true mourning.
My prayer for us all is simple. I pray that we don’t numb ourselves to this desire for connection. I pray that we use this desire to be blessed in mourning and blessed in connection. Simply numbing our desire does not lead us to the fulfilled life that God intended for us.
Psalm 42:1-2 “As a deer pants for flowing streams, so pants my soul for you, O God. My soul thirsts for God, for the living God. When shall I come and appear before God?”
Psalm 84:1-2 “How lovely is your dwelling place, O Lord of hosts! My soul longs, yes, faints for the courts of the Lord; my heart and flesh sing for joy to the living God.”
Let us rejoice when we are deeply connected to God,
Let us mourn when we do not feel His presence in our lives,
Let us pray that we are not numb to this desire.
Pastor Brady Robinson