From Where Comes This Yearning for God?

Have you ever come to a place in your life where you have asked yourself some of the hard questions? Questions such as: “Is there more to life than what I am living?” “Who is God?” “What purpose is there to life?” God has placed within man a God-shaped void that has no real peace until the void is filled. Many of us have tried to fill the void with other things, alcoholic drinks, drugs, money, prestige, power, sex, but nothing fills the emptiness. Blaise Pascal, the French philosopher and mathematician, wrote, “Within each human being there is a God-shaped void.” The scriptures speak of this inner void with words from King Solomon: “He [God Himself] has also set [the thoughts of] eternity in the hearts of men” (Ecclesiastes 3:11 NIV). God has placed a yearning for Himself within the central core of our being. In us looking for God and seeking to know Him, we must remind ourselves that our yearning for Him is a result of Him yearning for us. The Bible tells us that we love Him because He first loved us (1 John 4:19). He has sought for His bride since the very beginning in the Garden of Eden, when Man turned away from Him. He cried out, “Adam, where are you?” (Genesis 3:9). The author C.S. Lewis wrote, ”

Creatures are not born with desires unless satisfaction for those desires exists. A baby feels hunger: well, there is such a thing as food. A duckling wants to swim: well, there is such a thing as water. Men feel sexual desire: well, there is such a thing as sex. If I find in myself a desire which no experience in this world can satisfy, the most probable explanation is that I was made for another world. If none of my earthly pleasures satisfy it, that does not prove that the universe is a fraud. Probably earthly pleasures were never meant to satisfy it, but only to arouse it, to suggest the real thing.[1]

This desire of our hearts finds no rest until we find God in Christ. The fifth century philosopher, Augustine, wrote: “Our hearts are unquieted until they find their rest in Thee.” Paul the apostle also referred to this inner longing that God has placed within us. He wrote:

26and He made from one man every nation of mankind to live on all the face of the earth, having determined their appointed times and the boundaries of their habitation, 27that they would seek God, if perhaps they might grope for Him and find Him, though He is not far from each one of us (Acts 17:26-27).

He alone is the Bread of Life that satisfies (John 6:35). He alone is the Living Water, that when you drink of Him, you will never thirst again (John 4:14). The big question, then, that we are all looking to have answered is: “What must I do to gain eternal life with God?” Within this question, and the answer to it, we find the crux of the Gospel message.

Jesus declared, “I tell you the truth, no one can see the kingdom of God unless he is born again” (John 3:3).

To be born-again is to enter into the New Covenant by receiving the person of Jesus to sit on the throne of your life—to live in your life, directing and empowering you to live for Him. The most wonderful thing is that God has so loved us that He gave His Son, the Lord Jesus Christ, as a substitute to pay the debt of our rebellion against God, and to restore us to Himself through the death of Christ. We no longer have to hide from God in our sin. “For Christ died for our sins once for all, the righteous for the unrighteous, to bring you to God” (1 Peter 3:18). He has taken the sin issue out of the way. Isn’t it time you entered into this new life?

Keith Thomas

[1] C. S. Lewis, Mere Christianity, Published by HarperCollins, New York, 1952. Chapter 10.

The Longing for Heaven

On the last and greatest day of the festival, Jesus stood and said in a loud voice, “Let anyone who is thirsty come to me and drink (John 7:37).

There is in the heart of every man and woman on planet Earth a longing for heaven. Somehow within the very depths of our being, we know we are created for more than this earth, a nostalgia for heaven. The word “nostalgia” comes from two Greek words: nostos, meaning return home, and algos, meaning pain. Originally the word meant homesickness because that is an incurable malady, the only thing that cures it, obviously, is home. While we live in this world, there will always be this inner longing for something, a void, a hole in our lives that nothing fills except God Himself. We try filling the emptiness by drinking alcohol—but that doesn’t satisfy it. Fame doesn’t satisfy it. Pleasure will not satisfy it. Nor will money. The emptiest people on earth are those who try to fill the emptiness with the things above. What we long for in our souls simply cannot be filled by anything or even family. To deny or ignore our longings that God has put there in our creation deadens our inner being—the part that aches for Him. To refuse to admit to our spiritual longing is to put our soul in peril. Aldous Huxley said: “Sooner or later one asks even of Beethoven, even of Shakespeare… ‘Is this all?’” C.S. Lewis described this as “the inconsolable longing…news from a country we have never visited.”

Augustine spoke of having this inner feeling long before his conversion to Christ. C.S. Lewis struggled hard and fought against the idea that the source of his “inconsolable longing” and the God of traditional religion might be one and the same. Of his search for God Lewis said: “They might as well talk about the mouse’s search for the cat.” If is true that God has built into the very framework of our being, a longing for Himself, then why try to fill the void with all kinds of things that are not Him? Our text for today is Jesus crying out in the middle of a crowd of people attending the most notable day of the Feast of Tabernacles, “If anyone is thirsty, let him come to Me and drink.” Why deny your spiritual thirst any longer? Come to Christ and let Him fill your emptiness.

Keith Thomas