When the Soul Yearns: Turning Our Longing into a Ladder to God

It is said that we arrive into this world with the lingering echo of Eden in our souls, like a faintly remembered lullaby. As children, our eyes sparkle with an innocence reminiscent of that lost paradise, a purity that the trials of our fallen world slowly erode, infecting our hearts with discontentment, loneliness, and despair. It’s as though a relentless worm creeps into our human condition, seeking to devour the Eden within us.

In Psalms 63:1, the psalmist reflects, “You, God, are my God, earnestly I seek you; I thirst for you, my whole being longs for you, in a dry and weary land where there is no water.” This profound longing hints at the fact that we yearn for more than this world can offer, a desire to rediscover a lost paradise. It’s the ancient ache of Eden, nestled deep within us, now morphed into a yearning for God’s future restoration (Rev. 21). It’s the echo of that lost song, ever-present, humming in the background of our existence.

When we unplug ourselves from the distracting clatter of our modern lives—turn off the TV, set down the phone, close the laptop—we step into a realm of silence. And it’s in this silence that the ache becomes almost deafening. It’s as though we’ve amplified the ambient noise of our soul, making us aware of our existential discomfort.

Many people, terrified of this quiet discontentment, attempt to mute it. They bury themselves in work, seek solace in romance or intense friendships, lose themselves in video games, or numb their senses with overindulgence—be it in food, retail therapy, or substances. But these temporary salves merely mask the ache, providing transient relief but never true healing. So, where do you turn when your soul aches?

I’d be remiss to say that the ache disappears once we embrace Christ. It doesn’t. But coming to Jesus allows us to gain insight, helping us channel this ache into a force for positive transformation. Although our faith journey doesn’t erase the ache, it equips us to comprehend and navigate it. Some may profess an eternally blissful spiritual existence, unmarred by doubt or discomfort. Still, this may be more of a romanticized interpretation than reality. The Christian journey acknowledges and treasures the ache, recognizing it as a beacon guiding us toward God’s promise.

To navigate the ache, here are some steps you can take:

  1. Identify the Ache: Acknowledge it when it surfaces. It’s not an enemy but a companion on your spiritual journey.
  2. Observe its Influence: Notice the behaviors it triggers in you. Do you reach for distractions, indulge in comfort foods, or entertain harmful thoughts?
  3. Resist the Usual Response: Challenge yourself to avoid these typical reactions, especially if they’re negative or harmful.
  4. Reinterpret the Ache: Recognize it as a sign of your profound need for God and a longing for His promised restoration.
  5. Seek Divine Guidance: Pray for God’s help to accept and use the ache to fuel spiritually nourishing activities.
  6. Accept the Ache: Understand that the ache will be your companion until life’s end, but faith can help you navigate it effectively.

As Christians, we’re not perfect—we’re redeemed. God takes our flawed, broken selves and cultivates a vibrant garden from our composted imperfections. We may live in a fractured world, a place of lost toys and broken dreams, but knowing this keeps us humble before God and compassionate toward others. Though we cannot heal the world ourselves, we can demonstrate an alternative way of handling the ache—a way that points to the true Savior.