Created to Crave

29 07 2008

You were created by God to crave.  Advertisers know it.  Hollywood knows it.  The self help industry knows it.  Every magazine and periodical cover is designed to create a craving within you. The world we live in is constantly attempting to arrest a desire for some got-to-have-it thing that will finally make us happier than we were.

This desire did not originate with the 20th century.  God placed it within our hearts.  God placed a craving in all of us.  This craving is a desire, a desire for love, for acceptance.  A desire for adventure.

It is this unmet desire that drives some people to chase after adventure in ways that can never satisfy.  This deep thirst for fascination and beauty drives men and women to daring acts and longings of the heart that are seemingly unreachable.  Thomas Dubay, in his book, The Evidential Power of Beauty, explains it this way:

You and I, each and every one of us without exception, can be defined as an aching need for the infinite.  Some people realize this; some do not.  But even the latter illustrate this inner ache when, not having God deeply, they incessantly spill themselves out into excitements and experiences licit and illicit.  They are trying to fill their inner emptiness, but they never succeed, which is why the search is incessant.  Though worldly pleasure seeking never fulfills and satisfies in a continuing way, it may tend momentarily to distract and to dull the profound pain of the inner void.  If these people allow themselves a moment of reflective silence (which they seldom do), they notice a still, small voice whispering. Is this all there is?  They begin to sense a thirst to love with abandon, without limit, without end, without lingering aftertastes of bitterness.  In other words, their inner spirit is clamoring, even if confusedly, for unending beauty.  How they and we respond to this inner outreach rooted in our deep spiritual soul is the most basic set of decisions we can make; they have eternal consequences.

Solomon understood this when he wrote, “[God] has made everything beautiful in its time.  Also He has put eternity in their hearts.” (Eccl. 3:11)  Everyone is searching for eternity in their hearts—the churched, the unchurched, the saved and unsaved.  I have traveled to over 20 nations of the world and I have rarely met a person who is not searching, hungering, and longing with deep desire for an eternal purpose to their lives.

Spiritual hunger is driving people of all ages to experiment with virtually any religion or pleasure to find a way to quench this deep passion.  Right now Islam is the fast growing religion in America.  Hinduism and other eastern religions are growing quickly in the west.   It seems that we are living in an age where spiritual hunger is at all time high and people are willing to search for anything that will at least pacify temporarily this hunger.

I have been a missionary and pastor for the past twenty-five years.  As a missionary I spent time observing and conversing with Buddhist monks and the people who considered themselves followers of Buddha.  In virtually every situation and conversation I found a person who was lonely, frustrated, and unfulfilled in their search for meaning.

The other day I was in a coffee shop in Colorado Springs and I met a young woman who told me that she often listened to my radio broadcast.  She said she liked it because it seemed that I really believed what I was talking about.  I then asked her, “What is it I believe that I’m always talking about?” She looked confused and then got it.  “Oh, you believe the Bible!” What was it about the Bible that I believed, I asked her.  She wasn’t sure.

A lot of us are unsure of what we are listening to and what we really crave.  I believe we are all searching for beauty and eternal fascination.  Even Jesus understood this.  He used passion and desire to draw people in.  In Matthew 13:44, “Again, the kingdom of heaven is like treasure hidden in a field, which a man found and hid; and for joy over it he goes and sells all that he has and buys that field.”  This man found something that so satisfied his cravings that he was willing to sell everything he had in order to get it.  He was consumed by a treasure.  This treasure captivated his heart.

When I was a freshman in college a campus minister sat down on a lawn with me and shared that Jesus passionately loved me so much that He willingly left heaven and came to this earth and let Himself be shamed, tortured, and killed for me.  The man told me that even if I was the only person on the earth,  Jesus would have done this for just for me.  At the time I was finding great adventure in being a champion gymnast and all the allurements that accompanied such a lifestyle.

But that day, a new craving began to grow.  It was small, very small, like a little treasure in a field.  I chose to pursuit that desire and that decision has changed my life for the past thirty years.

Are you searching for beauty?  Are you searching for the fascination?  In our next blog installment I look forward to sharing with two hero’s of mine who found the cravings of their heart.

Carpe Diem Gloriae Dei,

Pastor Steve