I looked for God in achievement and success; I found some short-term satisfaction in accolades and public approval… but I eventually found that these things could not make up for the lack inside my soul.
I looked for God in church and ministry: this seemed promising, because everyone talked about God and did all kinds of spiritual-sounding stuff. But ultimately I found there was a lot of hot air, a good deal of warm, fuzzy experiences… and not a whole lot of real substance.
I looked for God in the Bible. I found a lot of truth there, and I definitely saw glimpses of God there… but I also found a lot of religion and dogma, and texts being read and interpreted in ways that forced them into boxes they were never meant to fit.
I looked for God in family and relationships… and while I found a whole lot of love and goodness, I learned that others could not and should not be made to bear the weight of my own dependency and need.
I looked for God in sex… While I found a degree of fulfilment — after all, who will say that sex isn’t one of the most transcendent activities known to humankind? — the sheen soon wore off, and I found that even the passion and the heat couldn’t erase the yawning ache deep down in my innermost being.
I looked for God in nature. And while my heart sang at the majesty of the mountains, my mind danced dizzy with wonder at the breathtaking expanse of the heavens and my spirit soared at the manifold glories of creaturely diversity, I found that when I went home, I was still me; even a humbling appreciation of God’s breathtaking handiwork could not fill the vacuum in my soul.
Perhaps we could add to the list: I looked for God in alcohol; drugs; money; career; fame…
Eventually, exhausted and frustrated from the search, when finally I reached the end of my resources, I sat down among the ashes of my despair and took a long, hard look inside myself. And, to my very great surprise, among and beneath the clutter, the wounds, the disappointments, the regrets, and the accumulated doubts and fears, I found God there.
“I entered into the innermost part of myself… I entered and I saw with my soul’s eye (such as it was) an unchangeable light shining above this eye of my soul and above my mind… He who knows truth knows that light, and he who knows that light knows eternity. Love knows it. O eternal truth and true love and beloved eternity!”
— Augustine of Hippo, Confessions (c. 400 A.D.)
[ Image: Theophilos Papadopoulos ]