The desire for transcendence

My notes on Every Day with Jesus, written by Selwyn Hughes, Revised and updated by Mick Brooks, published by CWR.

November/December 2013 Issue – ‘Love Came to Bring us Home’


Psalm 1:1-6 (NIV): ‘Blessed is the one who does not walk in step with the wicked or stand in the way that sinners take or sit in the company of mockers, but whose delight is in the law of the Lord, and who meditates on his law day and night. That person is like a tree planted by streams of water, which yields its fruit in season and whose leaf does not wither – whatever they do prospers.

Not so the wicked! They are like chaff that the wind blows away. Therefore the wicked will not stand in the judgment, nor sinners in the assembly of the righteous.

For the Lord watches over the way of the righteous, but the way of the wicked leads to destruction.’

Today, Selwyn introduces ‘a new matter, which we have to deal with as a result of the Fall – inner unrest.

He writes: ‘Though many are disinclined to admit to it, there is a sense of unease and dissatisfaction in the heart of every man and woman.’  I think that this sense of discontentment is evident in all aspects of life. In the media (TV, movies, books and magazines), we come across many stories of people who struggle daily with the question of: what’s the purpose of their life, or – where can the meaning of life, be found?

I would guess that there are very few individuals who don’t ponder, at some point in their life, on the reason for their existence. Some may try to escape this issue, of seeking the meaning of their lives, but adopting a negative attitude that there is no meaning to any human activity except the meaning an individual assigns to the activity: a process, some think, is always subjective.

Back to Selwyn’s question: ‘Why is it – that there is within each one of us – a hunger and thirst for something?

He answers, his own question – in this way: ‘The reason, I believe, is that God created Adam and Eve in His image He designed them first and foremost for a relationship with Himself. This means in practical terms that they could not function effectively or feel completely at peace within themselves outside a relationship with Him. …

There is within us all an innate sense that we will never be at ease with ourselves until we are once again at ease with God. St Augustine’s great prayer, which is often quoted, best sums it up: ‘You have made us for Yourself, and our hearts are restless until they find their rest in You.

In Romans 14:17, we read: ‘ … the kingdom of God is not a matter of eating and drinking, but of righteousness, peace and joy in the Holy Spirit … ‘. This verse provides for us an insight into what happens when we enjoy a relationship with Jesus: we come to know the purpose of our life – we recognise our purpose to give honour and glory to God by making Him known to a lost world, in need of a Saviour. This restored relationship, made possible by Jesus’ sacrificial death and resurrection, satisfies our restless desire for meaning and results in peace and joy – through the power of God’s Spirit.

We can’t find the meaning of life through our own endeavours but God does give the followers of Jesus, meaning and purpose of life, as a free gift. Now, isn’t that something to praise God for?

To Follow Jesus, Shayne McCusker, 2013