Part 2: Relational Fulfillment in God
written by Evan Jones artwork by Jessie Lo
In Part 1 of this series we got an in-depth look into the pain of relational heartbreak and how it often reveals where or who we look to for fulfillment. In this next part, writer Evan Jones expounds on the goodness but insufficiency of even our closest relationships to meet our needs for intimacy.
Best friends will have times of togetherness, which draws them close, and times of busyness, which forces them apart. Your parents will grow old. Your siblings will go on to have lives of their own. Dating relationships will end, if they don’t end in marriage, and even marriage—the highest model and most emotionally entangled of all human relationships—will undergo hardships that leave one partner feeling alone. If your source for love is a person, and that person leaves your life— for a moment, a month, or forever— you’ll be left feeling empty, disappointed, and let down.
I want to make it clear that relationships are good and should be had. After all, God said it was “not good for man to be alone.” Adam had Eve, Jonathan had David, Ruth had Naomi, and Jesus had his disciples. Proverbs promises safety in community, Galatians urges us to bear one another’s burdens, and strewn throughout Scripture are exhortations to live in unity, all implying that we are to live life together. God delights in relationships, as they serve as a reminder that we are made in his image, fashioned to reflect and emulate his communal, Trinitarian likeness.
However, when they become our go-to source for the love and closeness God made us want, we are not only prioritizing those relationships over God and making idols out of the people we are in relationship with, but we are turning to an inconsistent source to fill a consistent need. People come and go, but God never leaves. People change, but God remains the same. People cannot function beyond their limits, but God has no limits.
The Lord eventually delivered me from all my pain. Praise God the hurt I thought was terminal was, thanks to Him, only temporary. The sting of the breakup lingered for months, but I found that the presence of the Lord was the only place where I was undetectable to the anguish that stalked me. There, in the shadow of his wings, I was calm and content. There, in the shelter of the Almighty, I was reacquainted with true companionship. And for the first time in a long time, I found myself without need, with no hints of loneliness, because being with the Father was enough.
There are still times in moments of weakness—where I wonder if another romantic relationship is what I need. When my former ways start to surface, I invite Jesus into the doubt, and ask him to step into the forsaken feeling. He brings me back to those nights I spent in the prayer chapel last winter, and reminds me that my first and foremost need is Him. He reminds me that all my needs—whatever they may be—stem from the need for my Savior. Like a rose that cannot exist apart from the rose bush, I am a branch that cannot thrive apart from the vine that is Jesus. Our hearts are complex. But the One who made it knows what it needs. Our souls will know intimacy when and only when we acknowledge that true love comes from the One who loved us first.
In this series on “Finding Hope in a Broken Heart,” Evan Jones poignantly revealed how ultimately our needs for intimacy, love and companionship are fulfilled not in relationship with imperfect humans but in relationship with our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ.
Evan Jones has an MA in Theology from Talbot School of Theology. She senses the Lord’s calling to mentor and disciple women of all ages, teaching them how to know Jesus as an immediate reality and presence. She hopes to one day write a book combining her passion for communication, Genesis, and being in a healthy relationship with Jesus and others. Evan loves her family, animals, music, nature, and of course, her best friend, Jesus Christ.
(Adapted from RE:NEW Magazine, February 2016, Issue 5)