Blog Post

Our Ultimate Longing

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. If none of my earthly pleasures satisfy it, that does not prove that the universe is a fraud. Probably earthly pleasures were never meant to satisfy it, but only to arouse it, to suggest the real thing. If that is so, I must take care, on the one hand, never to despise, or to be unthankful for, these earthly blessings, and on the other, never to mistake them for the something else of which they are only a kind of copy, or echo, or mirage. I must keep alive in myself the desire for my true country, which I shall not find till after death; I must never let it get snowed under or turned aside; I must make it the main object of life to press on to that country and to help others to do the same.

C.S. Lewis

As I sat down to read from Wisdom recently, I was overwhelmed with grief when I thought of our Lord’s death and how chastised He was by those around Him. I knew there was something beautiful in the lines from Wisdom but had a hard time at first detaching from the sadness I felt when thinking of how He was treated. The lines then spoke to me clearly: “These were their thoughts, but they erred; for their wickedness blinded them, and they knew not the hidden counsels of God; neither did they count on a recompense of holiness nor discern the innocent souls' reward.” Wisdom 2: 21-22.  I instantly was reminded of the quote from Lewis above, my favorite line penetrating my heart, “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.”

Wow. This is at the heart of the Christian life - the constant push and pull between knowing what we want combined with what will and won’t satisfy, all the while living amidst a culture that persists in desiring and quenching, yet never being satisfied. This is the battle we fight every single day: a world that tells us what we need to be fulfilled while knowing that this earth will never fill us with our ultimate longing.

In looking at Wisdom, I am reminded of what this journey is about - the joy that is found in pursuing His promises and leaving behind old ways of doing things. So many of the challenges we face are due to the world’s idea of happiness and the pursuit of those guarantees. Yet, one certainty exists as I look back over the years of my own life-nothing in this world is ultimately satisfying. Thus, we must let go of the things that bring temporary fulfillment in exchange for the reward promised for holiness.

The Christian way of life isn’t easy at first; the habits we need to develop in order to live holy lives require work and sacrifice. All too often, Christianity is seen as stifling and rigid, something that constricts our freedom and denies our self-interests. However, the opportunity to love something larger than oneself is the greatest choice we can make. Somehow, in surrendering one’s own interests in exchange for the promises of the Other, we gain our highest goods-the knowledge of Truth and self, the wisdom of the meaning of life, and the joy of the daily sacrifices.

Every single thing in this world was created for a purpose; and each thing points to the One for which it was created. There is so much beauty in this world, so much goodness to behold. To remove our own “blindness” requires so little effort, as His grace does all the work. All that’s required is a simple yes to gain more than the world has to offer.

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Betsey Sawyer is an attorney and adjunct professor in Mississippi, and works for Women of Grace as the Mission Advancement Coordinator.   She can be reached at bsawyer@womenofgrace.com. (Photo courtesy of Eliza Kennard Photography)

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