We had a West Highland Terrier for a number of years. “Westies” are tough little dogs, bred to tunnel into badger holes and engage the “enemy” in its lair. Our Westie was many generations removed from her origins, but she still retained that instinct, put into her through years of breeding. On one occasion she became obsessed by some “critter” under a rock in our backyard. Nothing could dissuade her. She dug and dug until she tunneled several feet under the rock.
Now consider this question: Why do we as humans pursue, pursue, pursue? Why must we climb unclimbed mountains, ski near-vertical slopes? Run the most difficult and dangerous rapids, challenge the forces of nature? Part of it is a desire for adventure and enjoyment, but it’s much more. It’s an instinct for God that has been implanted in us. We cannot not want to find God.
We don’t know that, of course. We only know that we long for something. “You don’t know what it is you want,” Mark Twain said, “but you want it so much you could almost die.”
God is our heart’s true home. As church father Augustine said in that most famous quotation: “You have made us for Yourself, O Lord, and our hearts are restless until they rest in You.”
And what is the heart? A deep void within us that only God can fill.
Help me, Lord, to recognize my deep longing for You. Then fill me with the knowledge of You. Draw me near.
Beneath all our longings is a deep desire for God.
Ecclesiastes was written by one who calls himself “the Teacher” and identifies himself as the “son of David, king in Jerusalem” (1:1). In this book, Solomon shows that a life not centered on God is without meaning and purpose (1:14; 2:11). He also shows how and why God must be a part of our lives. In chapter 3, he paints a picture of a life trapped between birth and death, experiencing the mundane repetition of life’s recurring seasons and cyclical activities (vv. 1–8). Such a life is both frustrating and burdensome (v. 10). But Solomon hints that life is not supposed to be like this. We were made for far grander things—God created us for Himself “in his own image” (Gen. 1:27). And God has “set eternity in the human heart” (Eccl. 3:11). We were created for fellowship with the eternal God. C. S. Lewis, in his book Mere Christianity, put it this way: “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.” Without God, life will be purposeless and meaningless.
What are some ways that our culture offers false fulfillment?