Growing up in high school, a friend of mine introduced me to a small musical outfit that you may or may not have heard about called U2. At the time, my musical taste had yet to develop, and I really did not know much about this four-piece band from Ireland. As I listened to their music more and more, something about the lyrics, the melodies, and the passion behind it all revealed a vibrant depth to music that I had yet to discover. After just a few songs, I figured that this rock and roll band might be all right.
Then, I stumbled upon a song called “I Still Haven’t Found What I’m Looking For.” My Christian, everything-must-be-wrapped-up-in-a-bow self loved hearing about how none of the earthly things that Bono sang about seemed to satisfy. His voice flowed into the final verse, and as he started to sing about the story of Jesus, a joy started to well up within me until Bono returned to the same chorus that had followed all of the other verses: “I still haven’t found what I’m looking for.”
I shrugged. The song was almost meaningful, but apparently, he just didn’t get it. After all, how could you possibly sing about believing in Jesus and say that you still haven’t found what you’re looking for? I still loved the song, and I would keep listening to it. Every time, I tried to figure out how it could be possible. I needed resolution.
Well, I continued growing up; I shed some naiveté; and I learned that life can get pretty intricate. Black and white tends to be inadequate, not because clear distinctions between right and wrong don’t exist, but because the complexity prevents language from stating those distinctions with crystal clarity.
It’s easy to come racing toward the Christian message and become enraptured with the idea of salvation. The mystery of being freed from sin and shame allures any guilt-ridden person. For Christianity, this message is essential, but even it is not the end. U2’s song focuses on the redemption that Christ offers, but that redemption serves only as the first step.
When I made the decision to move to New Orleans, a friend told me that she hopes that I find what I’m looking for. The implication in such a statement, like the implication of the U2 song, is that there will be a sense of finality once we reach a certain point. But whatever we pursue — a marriage, a career, a house, or even satisfaction — there is no genuine end on this side of heaven. Even Christ’s offer of salvation serves only as a means to and end; that end is our relationship with God.
We always long for finality and, ultimately, rest. That, however, is what makes heaven all the more enticing. Most skeptics don’t understand this aspect of eternal life with God. There will be no strife, no longing, no pain. Here on earth, we register those things as an interesting aspect of life. We feel like pain (though we don’t admit it) serves a vital purpose in helping us grow and progress. So, without struggle, we mistakenly believe heaven must be uninteresting. Everything about heaven, though, is everything we are struggling for. We can’t even understand what reaching that final state must be like.
In going to New Orleans, I am not necessarily looking for anything. I only want to take steps further and further into this exciting relationship with The Lord. That is my highest end.
I guess I must say that that is what I’m looking for.