C.S. Lewis described his permanent sense of longing that came from knowing Christ. He likened his feeling with this idea of sehnsucht. Sehnsucht appeared in many of Lewis' favorite works of literature. It shows up as the indescribable touch or the tender part of our soul that comes from seeing, experiencing or getting a glimpse of the kingdom of God.
- It's a moment of peace, not just quiet, but unexpected serenity. When eternity seems to open before you.
- It's the first minutes after a disaster when you care nothing about cars, homes, money and possessions but only praise God your family is safe.
- It's the first moment you see your newborn grandson.
- It's holding the hand of the dying.
- It's when you first got a glimpse of the one with whom you would spend the rest of your life.
- It's found in the bloom of a flower, the crashing of a wave, the wisdom of elderly, the innocence of a child. It's found in the face of a child who realized they've messed up bad and they confess and seek your love and mercy. It's found in prayer, in worship, in quiet moments with the Lord.
Yet, that eternal longing can't be accessed on demand. It's found not by seeking, but by paying attention; not by recipe or practice. It's not looking outside this life but looking through this life given to us by God. I think this longing is a remnant of the original creation, the paradise of Adam and Eve, prior to the fall and destructive power of sin. It's a gift, a glimpse of paradise, seeing eternity and the One who created it all. Sehnsucht brings you to praise. You are filled with something indescribable, something that's just right and normal; it's a cold soul warmed by an eternal flame. But then it passes.
It passes and the moment is gone. All that's left is the brief memory of a glorious moment that you want more of. It's a need to find it again, create it, bottle it up or remember how it came about or from where it came. It's the realization of a profound emptiness and the longing to have it filled again. You know its all around, but still just out of reach.
Sehnsucht is by definition the internal, painful longing for someone or something. It literally means a sickness caused by a yearning desire. It is the longing to once again hear the sound of the Lord walking in the garden in the cool of the day, to welcome Him, to walk with Him and talk with Him face to face.