There Must Be More Than This
Growing up I always loved fairytales and Disney movies. I loved these classic stories of hope and redemption. Though at times these stories didn’t really seem to reflect the reality of my every day life, they seemed to speak to some other longing inside – a longing for the way things could be. As I’ve gotten older I still enjoy a good super hero movie, but nowadays I can’t seem to watch without sensing a bigger story. It’s like there are flashes of Jesus and the redemptive narrative of scripture in every movie.
King Solomon tells us in Ecclesiastes 3:11 that we shouldn’t be surprised by this. He wrote that God “has placed eternity within the human heart.” There is literally something inside of us that longs for something more. We are hard wired to believe that there is something greater than what we see. And Solomon tells us that it is God who has placed this feeling inside of us.
Solomon would certainly have been the one to understand this idea because he had it all. Because of the blessing granted to him by God, he was able to acquire wealth, knowledge, power, and every kind of pleasure or experience the world at that time could offer. There was nothing he couldn’t have. At the end of each accomplishment, he came to the same conclusion….everything felt meaningless and empty and he felt a longing within himself….a longing that there must indeed be something more.
There’s no doubt that within the human heart is a searching for something more. Perhaps like the U2 song many of us find ourselves at the place of saying, “I still haven’t found what I’m looking for.”
This is really where it all begins. The beginning of poetry, art, music, philosophy, religion – it all stems from a similar longing within the human heart to know the creator and to find meaning for the life we’ve been given. For centuries, we have sought to understand this longing, to define it, to discover how it might bring meaning to what we call life.
In the Bible, there’s a story about a group of people who lived in Athens who were searching, much like you and I, to understand life, searching to discover who God might be and longing to know how God might impact their lives. We are told in Acts 17:22-28 what the Apostle Paul said to these people about God, “People of Athens! I see that in every way you are very religious. For as I walked around and looked carefully at your objects of worship, I even found an altar with this inscription: To an unknown God. So you are ignorant of the very thing you worship – and this is what I am going to proclaim to you. The God who made the world and everything in it is the Lord of heaven and earth and does not live in temples built by human hands. And he is not served by human hands, as if he needed anything. Rather, he himself gives everyone life and breath and everything else. From one man he made all the nations, that they should inhabit the whole earth; and he marked out their appointed times in history and the boundaries of their lands. God did this so that they would seek him and perhaps reach out for him and find him, though he is not far from any one of us. For in him we live and move and have our being. As some of your own poets have said, ‘We are his offspring.’”
In Him We Live
All religion begins with a search for God. A search to understand the longing for something greater that lives within all of us. And Paul suggests that this search will only lead us closer to the God of Christianity. The God who gave life to all things and rules all things. The God who needs nothing from us and who gives everything to us. The God in whom “we live and move and have our being.”
Life need not feel empty or meaningless. God has created us so that we would search for him. Not searching endlessly with no hope. But rather, searching knowing that He longs for us to find him. It’s comforting to think that he stays close to us – even as we search. He waits patiently for our hearts to find him and to open up to him.
And it gives me such hope to know that my life, my being, my very existence rests in a God who is near and longing to have relationship with me. St. Augustine said, “You have made us for yourself, and our hearts are restless until they learn to rest in you.”
Come Near to God
James 4:8 says, “Come near to God and he will come near to you…”. Sometimes we can overcomplicate faith. We believe that following God must require a lot of difficult steps. That perhaps there’s much we must change about ourselves in order to find God and be fully prepared to meet him.
Yet, we would be wrong to believe this. God simply calls us to come to him. He has already done the work to prepare us for a relationship with him through Jesus’ death on the cross. All we must do is come. It’s so simple.
Perhaps today there is a longing for hope that you are realizing can only be filled by God.
Take some time to pray.
Come close to God.
Reach out to him.
Let him know you are searching for him and he will come close to you just as he’s promised.