How Your Wish List is Pointing You to God

woman blowing paper strips in selective focus photography

You’re a bundle of hopes and expectations. Be honest, you’ve got some pretty specific things you want to accomplish or obtain in life. Maybe for you it’s about being the best at something. Or maybe it’s owning something that stands out. In your false humility, you might dismiss this as pertaining to someone else, but you have to admit, it’s easy to want to excel in either accomplishments or possessions.

Our longings always point to something real. When we’re hungry, there is a real thing called food that corresponds to our craving. When we’re tired, there is such a thing as rest though most of never seem to get enough of it. Our desires for physical intimacy point to the reality of sex. Our desires seem to always correspond to something real. Things might not always work out as grand as any of us hope, but there’s some real counterpart for all our desires. Or so it seems.

But what about our longing to know God? Pretty much every human being who has ever breathed air on our little planet has experienced some sort of religious desire. We want to know what is beyond. We want big answers for all those ginormous questions that keep us up at night. We want a purpose that is bigger than our daily to-do list. We want to connect to a power that is bigger than our challenges.

Do these kind of yearnings point somewhere real? All our other desires do. Why shouldn’t the religious impulse do the same thing?

Peter Kreeft, philosopher and professor at Boston College, outlines the argument this way:

1. Every natural desire, innate desire in us corresponds to some real object that can satisfy that desire.
2. But there exists in us a desire which nothing in time, nothing on earth, no creature can satisfy.
3. Therefore, there must exist something more than time, earth and creatures, which can satisfy that desire.

C.S. Lewis articulated it this way, ““If we find ourselves with a desire that nothing in this world can satisfy, the most probable explanation is that we were made for another world.” This argument from desire begins with the human experience and then looks outward for an explanation. If all my desires have some real object that can fulfill them, then perhaps my longing to know a higher purpose and power is pointing to something real as well.

People can dismiss most apologetic arguments. We, humans are like that. It doesn’t take us much to rationalize away anything we don’t want to be bothered by. But our deep-seated desires have a way of ignoring our mental denials. They tend to haunt us. That’s because beneath this stubborn longing to connect with a powerful story to give our lives meaning, is a real object. The Bible calls it God.