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52 Books in 52 Weeks: The Longing in Me

*I received The Longing in Me from BookLook Bloggers in exchange for an honest review. All thoughts/opinions on the book below are my own. 

The life of David is endlessly fascinating. We know him as "a man after God's own heart" and as the one who defeated Goliath with a sling and a stone. What a guy, right?! But his story is so much more than that, and God's fingerprints are ALL OVER it. 

Did you know he was (most likely) a teenager when Samuel anointed him as the future king? Did you know he was 30 when he finally took the throne? Talk about a major waiting season in the in-between, and some crazy ups and downs to boot. That is what resonates with me lately. He knew what was ahead, the end goal, but he had years of journeying with and trusting the Lord before he got there. Once he became king, his troubles weren't over and he wasn't perfect. Far from it in fact.

But God.... 

Oh, those are some of my favorite words in the Bible!

But God still chose David.

In The Longing in Me, author Sheila Walsh examines the life and Psalms of David and shares the story of her first marriage along the way. She uses both as examples of how we have a hunger deep inside us, a longing that can impact our choices and in turn our futures, and that this hunger is ultimately for God. The longing will "haunt you until that hunger gets satisfied properly".

Whether it's a longing for acceptance, a relationship, fulfillment, or the next best thing, everything can lead us back to the heart of God. They don't always, particularly when we choose instant gratification and the world's definition of satiation to fill those desires, but if we turn our eyes to the Lord and press into His will and His word, the longing can be the path to greater intimacy with him.

"You can tap the one fountain that will quench your deepest thirst. 
You can change the way you respond to life's stresses. 
You can heal from the past and find joy today. 
Not someday. Today."
The Longing in Me, Sheila Walsh

I go back to David's Psalms over and over and over again. They're the pages most painted in my journaling Bible and most repeated in my diaries and prayers. Psalm 23 was one of the first I memorized in elementary school, and Psalm 63 holds a special place in my heart from college. I used to think them simply pretty songs about a far away time, but what blows my mind is how RAW they are. David was upfront with God about how he was feelings, the deep, hurting places, honest about his desperation and loneliness. 

Saul was after his life. His father in law, the man he went to battle for and played giants in front of, was after his neck. David could no longer live in the comfort of his home but fled and hid in caves with his men. In chapter five of The Longing in Me, Sheila shares about how in one of these caves he wrote Psalm 57:

Have Mercy on me, O God, have mercy!
I look to you for protection.
I will hide beneath the shadow of your wings
until the danger passes by.
I cry out to God Most High,
to God who will fulfill his purpose for me.
He will send help from heaven to rescue me. (v. 1-3)

Dark times, y'all. And we think we have it bad. He was literally on the run for his life, begging for protection. He knew God's promises, but his days looked bleak. Even so, David finishes out the chapter with his eyes on the Lord:

My heart is confident in you, O God;
my heart is confident.
No wonder I can sing your praises!
Wake up, my heart!
Wake up, O lyre and harp!
I will wake the dawn with my song.
I will thank you Lord, among all the people.
I will sing your praises among the nations.
For your unfailing love is as high as the heavens.
Your faithfulness reaches to the clouds.
Be exalted, O God, above the highest heavens.
May your glory shine over all the earth. (v. 7-11)

Again and again, Sheila walks us through David's highs and lows and his songs to the Lord, reminding us that while God "will often put us in situations to let us discover what's in us," the longing is for Him and His glory, and the seasons will shift as we shift our gaze to Him.  The Longing in Me is for those of us desiring more in life and out of life, and for some reason I think that's just about all of us ;)

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