Longing for God
As a deer longs for flowing streams, so my soul longs for you, O God. (Psalm 42:1)
“The heart is restless til it rests in Thee, O God.” St. Augustine, “Confessions.”
When I was young, I dreamed of becoming a professional athlete. Usually, the dream was to become the star wide receiver for the Minnesota Vikings. Then I would be famous, and people would cheer for me, and I would be happy. There was just one little problem with this dream – I wasn’t very gifted athletically.
Once I came to terms with the fact that I would never be a famous athlete, I dreamed of becoming rich and buying a big house and having nice cars. I would have everything my heart desired and then I would be happy. The problem with this dream was that I had no idea how to get rich. Still don’t.
At some point, my dream matured, and I wanted to be a great theologian, expounding on the subtle intricacies of our relationship with God. I would write books and give lectures and people would seek me out for my deep insights. And I would be happy. It turns out there is not a large market for deep, theological thoughts.
Fame. Fortune. Acclaim. Are these the gifts that bring happiness to our lives? Are these the things we long for? Or is there something else, something more?
I contend that much of our dis-ease with life, much of our societal ills, much of lostness in our world, is the result of neglecting our relationship with the Divine Spark of Life, the Ground of all Being, God.
Our soul longs for God. Our soul thirsts for God like a deer longing for flowing streams. And we seek to satisfy that thirst with all sorts of worldly means, like fame, and fortune, and big houses, and fancy cars. When that doesn’t work, we fill our longing with alcohol and drugs and other destructive behavior. Some even try creating a life on social media that is the envy of all. We will try anything – anything – before we acknowledge a need for the Holy.
If you are reading this, perhaps you have already discovered this great truth. But perhaps you are trying to fill that longing with other things, as well. Today is a good day to reflect upon life’s priorities and ask where God fits in? First. Third. Twenty-fifth? If your heart is still feeling restless, if you are still longing for something more, reach out for the only means of quenching that deepest thirst.