I'm sure that, at some time, we have all had a longing deep within. It might have been to visit some far away exotic land or to do something that seems way beyond reach. It could be that you wanted to be famous (or even noticed). There are many who long to be able to do, or to say, or to be something that still remains unsatisfied. Perhaps it's a longing for better health. For some it will be for greater wealth for others even enough wealth with which to be comfortable. It could even be an unfulfilled longing to be for God or to achieve for God that which seemed to have been placed on our hearts by God.
All of these longings and more besides are common to many of us if we stop for a moment and think about it. I grant you it will be much more relevant for some than others. The point is that there is no harm in longing or dreaming for whatever it may be as long as it does not take our focus from the purpose for which we exist which is to live a Spirit filled life that shows the reality of Jesus and brings honour to His name.
Here's the question, " How do you deal with those unfulfilled longings?" It's fair to say that some may be all about self. They are the ones that will do us no good and will do nothing for the furtherance of God's will for your life. But not all longings are like that. There are, I believe, some longings that are placed in your heart by God. All of us, hopefully, will learn how to cope with the unfulfilled longings that are not from God. But, what about those that you truly believe have been placed deep within, by God, but as yet there are no signs that they will become a reality? How do we cope with them?
That set me thinking. King David was a man caught up in such a scenario. He had a longing. He wanted to build a house for the Lord his God in which He could dwell (2Samuel 7:1-17) It was something that gained approval from another, Nathan, so David was convinced that this was the next stage of his ministry to the God that he loved and served. But, in the narrative, we find that they had both got it wrong. Though King David, at this point in his life, was riding on the crest of a wave the lesson for him was that good ideas are not always God ideas.
Right now he was King of Israel. He had captured Jerusalem and brought the Ark of God back in to the city. That was fine. God was happy with that. But now David had this deep longing in his heart to build a house in which God could dwell. To all intents and purposes it was 'good to go' but it was not the right time and he was not the right man according to the will of God. It remained unfulfilled because it was good but not right. It was commendable but not admissible.
The truth is that any longing that God instigates in your thinking and in your heart will be fulfilled. I remember reading somewhere that Alexander the Great wept when there were no more worlds for him to conquer. Perhaps King David was a little bit like that. He obviously wanted to do the right thing for God because God acknowledged that he was a man after God's own heart. He really wanted to build that house. It was a deep longing within him but it was not going to happen through him.
It must have been hard for him but, because of his love for God and his trust in Him, he came to terms with it.we know that because, when Solomon was granted permission to do that which David longed to do, he gave him his whole-hearted support. His longing was to be fulfilled through someone else. That was a great opportunity for him to 'throw his dummy out of the pram' and take his bat home (I know these are not Biblical sayings but they seemed appropriate) but he didn't. The temple that he wanted to build, that was built by Solomon, was in time destroyed, built again and destroyed again. So what David longed for did not last long in terms of eternity. But what God was doing in his life was to begin to build an eternal kingdom (verse 16)
How are we to cope with unfulfilled longings? The first step is to learn how to discern between those which are from God and those that are of self and humbly and willingly accept the will of the Lord our God. After all He knows best!! David accepted the accompanying disappointment of his longing being unfulfilled. He knew that God knew better than he did. He humbled himself before God and allowed God to have His way in his life. It was after that, as he looked back over his life that from that point on God granted him success. The secret is: give in and give up to God. Let Him do the sifting. Now there's a thought.
Psalm 42:1 as a deer pants for the water so my soul longs for You O God. My soul thirsts for the living God
Psalm 84:2 my soul longs, yea faints for the courts of God; my heart and flesh sing for joy to the living God.