Ever since I was a kid I’ve had what I termed an explorers spirit. I always want to know what’s around the next bend, or over the next hill, or beyond the horizon. I was looking out at the mountains recently as the sun was setting. It was one of those cooler evenings when the air is clear and it looks as though you could walk or ride right into them in just a couple of hours, even though in reality it would take nearly that long to drive there. As I gazed across the long valley that old familiar longing welled up within me. I could physically feel myself being drawn towards them.
It’s not just the mountains that have had that effect on me. I’ve responded similarly while riding across the wide open prairie of South West Saskatchewan. I‘ve experienced it standing on the edge of a cliff on the Eastern most point of Barbados, looking out across the expansive rough waters of the Atlantic Ocean while the waves crashed below me. I even felt it once in an airplane, flying across the Pacific at night with the full moon above us reflected perfectly on the water below.
But I‘ve come to realize that cresting the next rise or rounding the bend, or even reaching a distant island doesn’t satisfy the longing, at least not for long. I always want to go further. The same is true for any longing or desire a person has. Not everyone is drawn to follow a river snaking through a forested valley, but everyone has drives and longings in some aspect of their life. God built us that way. But we’re never completely satisfied by just pursuing the longing.
A few years ago I began to understand and recognize that those desires are ultimately a desire for God. For example, I recognize the draw to reach the horizon as fundamentally a longing for heaven. So now when that explorer’s spirit takes hold of me, my mind is drawn to God in anticipation and eagerness which leads me to worship.
That’s the whole point. God created us with desires so that we would look to him and find fulfillment. We are left empty and unsatisfied if we look for fulfillment apart from him. When we acknowledge our deepest desire as a desire for God we will experience greater and lasting fulfillment of all other longings. “Delight yourself in the Lord and he will give you the desires of your heart.” Psalm 37:4