“GiGi, I will have some crackers and juice this time,” my grandgirl asserted. I recalled the occasion months ago when I passed the communion plate over her head. Apparently, I’d offended her (again). This presented a precious opportunity talk about our faith.
Clearly, my grandgirl’s heart is in the right place. She loves God and shares this love freely. Even though her understanding is incomplete, at five years old, she’s increasingly aware of the God-shaped hole in her soul.
Have you ever wondered how we are drawn into searching for God? My sisters and I were not raised in faith and yet we all found our way to it. I do not believe this was by accident but the innate knowledge of eternity in our hearts. King Solomon, the wisest of all men, said:
He has made everything beautiful in its time. He has also set eternity in the human heart; yet no one can fathom what God has done from beginning to end. (Ecclesiastes 3:11)
I think this how we know there is more. It is why we struggle and strive, seeking to satisfy the longing we cannot fully identify. Fortune and fame prove fleeting; accolades hollow, followers fickle. We’ve millions of ways to try to find completeness. We may fool ourselves for awhile but all falls flat except for faith.
I was thinking on this as I considered events recorded in John 6. They illustrate perfectly the tug of war between temporal and eternal. It seems no one is exempt from this tension. It’s like a question we don’t know how to ask. One, it turns out, only God’s Spirit can answer.
In this chapter, the crowds following Jesus didn’t know what to make of Him. One day, He fed the multitude bread and fish. On His command, the sick and lame became well and strong. They were so impressed they called him a prophet and wanted to crown Him king! He slipped away, rejecting their schemes. They tracked him down the next day, searching for answers. Unlike my grandgirl, however, their hearts, were not in the right place.
He called them on it. He knew they wanted more flashy miracles. He came for so much more. He told them He was the true Bread of heaven, sent from God to give life to the world. Offended at this outrageous claim, they totally missed the point. Most turned away, dissatisfied.
Jesus didn’t come to perform miracles on command. He came to demonstrate the love of God in the flesh. He came that we might live, truly and forever.
The dry, tasteless wafer at church for which my grandgirl is so eager bears no resemblance to Bread that Jesus described. The wafer merely points us back to the Source that satisfies our deepest need. When we trust in Jesus, His Spirit lives within. Then the God-shaped hole in our soul is filled. I’ve found a sweetness in the completeness in His presence. Nothing else truly satisfies.
On the final segment of a study I completed recently, Lysa TerKuerst noted that perfection has been “etched on the very DNA of human existence” beginning in the garden of Eden. Adam and Eve passed that knowledge on through the generations. That’s why, she asserts (and I’m paraphrasing here), we long for more, strive for better, and are never fully satisfied. No matter how beautiful, it cannot be perfect this side of heaven. I think Lysa’s right; her insight clicked into place like a missing piece of the puzzle in my mind. It’s more than just innate knowledge of eternity. It’s a longing for a perfection like we never knew.
“That longing for perfection, it’s a good thing if we realize it’s not God’s way of discouraging us, it’s His way of leading us home. It’s this calling, this beacon, this driving force to turn our hearts toward the Lord. He is the only one that can satisfy us…” (Lysa TerKuerst*)
We live in perilous times, my friend, but take heart. We can have great hope by trusting in Jesus. To trust is to stand on faith, to be certain of the unseen (Hebrews 11:1). It’s to choose to believe His outrageous claims, some of which will not make sense this side of eternity. It’s no secret how this story ends (Revelation 21): God makes everything new again! He’s got my today and tomorrow, come what may. Like my grandgirl, I want in on everything He has for me. How about you?