The Longings of God.

Yet the Lord longs to be gracious to you; He rises to show you compassion. Isaiah 30:18a (NIV)

The word longing has resonated with me recently. Maybe it’s because I’m a romantic, a lover and writer of happily ever afters.

Longing makes me think of desire. To be specific, it causes me to give attention to what I desire.


Hope deferred makes the heart sick but a longing fulfilled is a tree of life. Proverbs 13:12

I’m pretty quick to broadcast my longings to the Lord, detailing my need for relief from hardship or all that’s not fair or missing or far too painful. I’m quite over the heart sickness of relentless disappointment.

But what if I switched it up and asked, “God, what do You long for?”

To name a few…

God longs to be gracious and show me compassion (Isaiah 30:18).

He longs for me to sit in His presence (Psalm 42:2) and to meditate on Him without ceasing (Psalm 119:97).

He longs to come and dine with me, to nourish me with the sweet taste of His word (Revelation 3:20, Psalm 119:103).

Yet sometimes I long for only what He – or dare I say, the world – can give. Relief. Instant gratification. Answers to all my persistent prayers.

How different it would be if my deepest longing was for…God. To reciprocate the longing of His heart that desires to be gracious to me.

The Israelites rejected God as King and demanded an earthly king to lead them (I Samuel 8:7) – a mediator, a go-between, a substandard alternative – while God longed for them to experience intimate accessibility to His throne.

When I consider how God longs to be gracious and rises to show me compassion, it re-aligns the longings of my heart with His.

And that’s a tree of life.

Heart check: what do you long for? How does it match up with what God longs for? Will it result in joy for both?


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  1. So true, Mary. I’m reading this wonderful Bible study by Anne Graham Lotz, The Magnificent Obsession that talks about longing for God above all else.

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