He fumbled with the pages flipping back and forth, trying to find the little black letters that synced with what he recited in his head. Focusing almost too hard, he could not quite catch up to where everyone else seemed to be, because he could not concentrate. Little monsters behind his eyes swayed his attention from the songs of praise filling his ears, to her exposed ankle just beyond his reach, to an unfamiliar word in the heavy book that weighted his hands, to the breath of perfume far enough away which he could not quite savor.
It is not that he was looking, not at all. He had been happily married to a lovely woman for almost 15 years. He had a comfortable job which was enough to sufficiently care for those who depended on him. He moved through his days with a friend or two. Most of his hours on this earth were joyful, several were boring, only a few tragic. Better than average, he did all right, compared to the common story of unhappiness told by his peers.
But there was something missing, a deep shackled desire he could not quite place, a zealous search for assurance of an unknown quality. Was it simply an untouched sensual need? Was it a shallow rebellion against his predictable daily pattern? Was it a cry for something greater, something more meaningful than what he had come to know?
We were created to expect acceptance and love out of this life. Back in the Garden of Eden, when man and woman were created to have dominion over the earth, they could only do this with the approval and authority given by the Almighty God. Outside of the gates of Eden, we now bear the curse of expecting acceptance and love in a world where the approval and authority of an Almighty God has been desperately disfigured.
In a world of right and wrong, operating with a knowledge of good and evil, the cards are stacked against us. We strive to impress, and we dig our grave deeper. We long for an intimate relationship, but our misplaced desires drag us down to the pit. We will work to overcome, but still do the wrong. We will argue for the righteousness of God, but still love evil. However, the romance with this deeper passion will not be satisfied by the arms of another woman. The flirtation with this profound thirst will not be quenched by our avoidance, nor by our own reason or strength.
The core of our being was created to desire more. Yet, often misguided and deadly, we find a solution in our own hearts and mind. An all-encompassing hobby, a quest for financial stability, a forbidden hunger, another god. Yet still we long for passion, the unbound acceptance of a Father, the ecstatic approval of a lover, the eternal satisfaction of something good, right, or just. And our desire is not the problem. It is the answer to the desire that matters.
The passion we cannot help but seek is the unbound, irresponsible adoration of our God. Left up to our own devices, we will never find it. The thrill of being right, being good, being appreciated, being attractive, being safe, being calm, being loved, it will not be filled up by an impassioned kiss. Rather, our obsessive desires are answered in one passionate scream.
“It is finished,” Christ speaks.
And the passionate love of God, your everlasting acceptance which surpasses all understanding, the forgiveness and restoration of your Almighty Creator, is the root of your desire. Forgiveness granted on behalf of a blood sacrifice for your life is the invigorating ache you cannot name. A lover who should not notice you but goes to the most extreme ends to expose Himself for your exclusive benefit. The Gospel of Jesus Christ is the only passion to which we cling.