If you pay any attention to the news today, it can seem like the world could not be more divided over all the things that differentiate one individual from another. From music and clothing to political and religious beliefs, everyone has their own perspective.
But if you take it back, if you go down the inverted pyramid that is the human heart, you’ll find that the stark contrasts thriving at the surface all ripple from the same underlying issues. We are not as different as may seem.
If you can’t relate to someone, you haven’t gone deep enough, you haven’t gotten to know them well enough. Here are five of the deep-set, universal longings we all share.
#1 — We know there is more
It has been wired into our souls to long for something we cannot find under the sun. We look at the stars or hear an inspirational story and we know there is life beyond death or that there is something more than our endless toil.
“…he has put eternity into man’s heart, yet so that he cannot find out what God has done from the beginning to the end.”-Ecclesiastes 3:11
So we want to be a part of something greater, to contribute to something bigger than ourselves. A greater cause, a greater good. We go to national parks and explore the great outdoors to get a taste of just how small we are in the great scheme of things.
We know there is more because—along with each of the following points—God is that more (Romans 1:19-21). He is working and moving behind the scenes and our innate knowledge of His reality, however aware we may or may not be of it, ripples out in various ways.
“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.”
-C.S. Lewis, Mere Christianity
#2 — Our soul longs for order
God is not a God of confusion but of peace (1 Corinthians 14:33), so everyone is naturally distressed by chaos and calmed by order. Some—like us perfectionists with OCD—embody this more than others, but even those on the opposite side of the spectrum have their own systems to keep things organized.
Order is a natural cause for peace. Why do you think so many people like the beach? Land and sea, sky and water, sunsets and sunrises. A shoreline embodies much natural order and balance that continue about their ways no matter what’s going on with our emotions (or lack thereof).
Look at businesses and organizations. There are systems, structures, and order for every minute detail. Everything has its own instructions or place in the handbook. There are rules for this and guidelines for that. We find ways to make processes as smooth as possible.
Our longing for order ripples out in myriads of ways, but it’s there— and a core relatable piece within all of us because it’s part of the One we were all made after. Because God is the basis of everything, we know order is how the world was intended to run.
This is why things like death, natural disasters, and war hurt on another level, because we know that’s not how it’s meant to be. If such tragedies were a part of the natural order, then why are they so life-shaking?
God intended—and intends to restore in the coming age—a world that runs without disruptions. No death, no tears, no anguish. We know this innately and, until He makes all things new, we will continue to seek what order we can create for ourselves in our individual lives.
#3 — We worship
Humankind was created for the purpose of glorifying God, to praise Him for all that He is and all the He does. We were designed to be worshippers, so the question is never are you worshipping but what are you worshipping.
“Show me where you spend your time, money and energy and I’ll tell you what you worship.”-John Wimber
Because of the fall, the world we know is full of misaligned worship. We all have a worship disorder, misaligned priorities, praising people or things instead of the One behind them. When we worry, we are worshiping the problem. When we’re angry, we’re worshiping our control (or rather lack thereof).
We forget that there is only One who can fulfill our deepest need: our need for a Savior. And before He comes back or we go home, progressive sanctification is God’s gracious redirection on Who we should be worshipping.
#4 — We just want to be loved
We were made from the overflow of love within the Trinity. We were created to be in unity with the Father, to be loved by Him, yet sin tore a chasm in that relationship. Since Genesis 3, lifetimes have been spent searching for the love we innately know (yet many don’t recognize) we once shared holistically with God.
Daughters seek marriages to make up for what they lacked with their earthly fathers. Go-getters seek fame and fortune. Mothers find their identities in their children, all trying to fill a hole only Jesus is enough to fill.
“Truth be told I made this world my home-AJ Michalka, “All I’ve Ever Needed”
I let it steal my soul, but now I want it back
‘Cause all I need is waiting
In Your arms a place to hang my heart
Where I am known at last”
We all want love, respect, and attention and—if we’re unaware or lose sight of why—go searching for it in anyone except for the One who is so willing to give. We must get acquainted with Love Himself if we are ever going to live peaceably with humankind, who are merely outsourcing His love.
#5 — We don’t want to be alone
That’s the simple truth of it. We don’t want to do life alone. No matter how sure their facial expression or how strong their shoulders may seem, we want another along for the ride. To share in the laughter and help bear the burdens. Someone to be a helper in whatever life may throw at you next.
“You don’t need another human being to make your life complete, but let’s be honest. Having your wounds kissed by someone who doesn’t see them as a disaster in your soul but cracks to put their love into is the most calming thing in this world.”-Emery Allen
There is a lot of freedom in being a party of one, yes, but to consistently return to an empty home and forever show up for events by yourself holds an ache deeper than even most soul searchers would dare to venture. Some may put on a strong face, but all long for a companion.
We need to know we’re needed, to have purpose and meaning, to be useful. We need to know we have a place in this world. Without that, there can feel like there is no reason to live. We need to give and receive and feel the reality that we’re a part of it all.
Each of these points ultimately goes back to an attribute of God. So really our deepest longing, our deepest need, the only thing that can fill the bottomless pit in our souls is Christ. The core of our psyche longs to be reunited with Him because He is the more who sets everything in order that we were created to worship because He loves us without conditions.
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