One night I woke with a start, sensing that something was wrong. Sitting up in bed, I saw a small form standing in the doorway of my bedroom, holding a blanket and crying.
“Come, Keane!” I called softly. He toddled over to my bed, dragging his blanket. I picked him up and hugged him. “Are you scared, sweetheart? Mama is here!” Kissing the top of his head, I tucked him into his favorite spot—the middle of his daddy and mama’s warm bed. With a contented sigh, Keane burrowed down and went to sleep nestled against me.
I didn’t give the incident another thought until several weeks later when I read this in Soul Keeping, an excellent book by John Ortberg:
“The truth is, the soul’s infinite capacity to desire is the mirror image of God’s infinite capacity to give. What if the real reason we feel like we never have enough is that God is not yet finished giving? The unlimited neediness of the soul matches the unlimited grace of God.” (pg. 82)
Whoa, I thought. God doesn’t like neediness that much does He? Somehow I often feel like I need too much from God, I want too many things, I am too dependent. I ought to be stronger, more resilient and independent. Right? This doesn’t sound like a possible equation—God’s desire to give equaling my desire to receive.
Suddenly I remembered Keane coming to our bed at night, and how my heart opened up to his need. I loved him so much, I didn’t even think about rebuking him and sending him back to bed. Instead, I cuddled with him as we both went to sleep.
Is that how God feels toward me in the darkness of my fear–not as a scolding master but as a loving parent? I can’t deny the terrible longing that strikes me at unexpected moments of both joy and pain, the longing to be known and held by a merciful God.
If God created us in His image, created us to be held close to His heart, could it be that the soul’s search for God is really His search for us, because our longing for Him can only come from Him? If that is true, this isn’t even an equation anymore. It’s a holy inequality.
Could it be that our neediness is precious to Jesus?