My son, pay attention to what I say; turn your ear to my words. Do not let them out of your sight, keep them within your heart for they are life to those who find them and health to one’s whole body. Proverbs 4:20–22
The Covid-19 pandemic has made us all conscious of our mortal fragility. It spotlights a deep, underlying concern that impacts all of society; health and wellbeing. This is reflected in the huge sums invested by drug companies right through to the pressure placed on GP surgeries as we prepare for the worst and hope for the best. However, we are far more than physical beings. There is within every one of us a longing for meaning.
German has the word ‘Sehnsucht’ for which there’s no English translation. C. S. Lewis used it to express the inconsolable longing that we each feel at times in our lives. It represents our search, often in vain, for something beyond our human capacity. It acts as the border between the physical and the metaphysical.
We may set ourselves many goals in life, yet, there remain inexpressible longings well beyond the achievement of our goals. Such a longing can create deep dissatisfaction. It is perhaps, the intrusion of an awareness that I am incomplete in and of myself.
The writer of Proverbs observes that there is a path beyond my comprehension which I must tread to find complete health. This search for inner fulfilment is the substance of spiritual formation.
For only God, as revealed in God’s Word, can satisfy what no other accomplishment can reach. In our pursuit of God, there must be an adjustment to our listening and our observing. We are not to be captivated by the material realities our constructive goal setting can achieve for us.
Rather, we are to encounter Jesus daily in Scripture and learn to nurture such appetites that draw us closer to God’s will and offer satisfaction beyond comparison; that elusive fullness of life Jesus promised His followers.
Something to Consider: How would you identify and describe your inner longing? What frustrates you in attempting to realise it?
An Action to Take: “Every time I post on social media, I pray: ‘Lord, make me an instrument of your peace.’” Miroslav Wolf. Let’s be disciplined in what we say, and why and how we are saying it. I always ask myself, is it true, is it kind, is it necessary?
A Prayer to Make: ‘Lord, I choose to turn my ear to your Word and live as You direct.’
Photo by Chang Duong on Unsplash
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