The Essential Pursuit
The sudden death of Kobe Bryant and his daughter Gianna and seven others in a tragic helicopter crash coupled with constant news about the Coronavirus outbreak in China—and the fears of it spreading around the globe—are stories that shook many this past weekend. As is often the case news headlines reveal that life on this planet is fragile—and not to be taken lightly. Reminded of our mortality and life’s fragile nature—we are driven to ask the eternal questions—the “God” questions of our existence.
Albert Einstein arguably the most brilliant of all men was once asked by one of his students, “Dr. Einstein, how many feet are there in a mile?” To the utter astonishment of the student, Einstein replied, “I don’t know.” The student was sure the great professor was joking. Surely Einstein would know a simple fact that every schoolchild is required to memorize at some point. But Einstein was not joking. When the student pressed for an explanation of this hiatus in Einstein’s knowledge he declared, “I make it a rule not to clutter my mind with simple information that I can find in a book in five minutes.”
If Einstein were living today he would find the information much quicker on his cell phone. Einstein was not interested in trivial data. His passion was to explore the deep things of the universe. His passion for mathematical and physical truth made him a pivotal fixture in world history. Einstein’s passion for math and physical truths can be emulated by our passion to know God. A thirst for the knowledge of God should drive us deeply to the fountain of truth as found in sacred Scripture. No doubt we are equipped with quite enough unholy passion—our appetites for lesser things at times threaten to consume us. Yet the Scripture says of Jesus that zeal for His Father’s house consumed Him. Jesus was a man of passion. In the Psalms David compares his own thirst for God to that of a Deer longing for water from a brook.
Psalms 42:1-2 As a deer longs for flowing streams, so my soul thirsts for God, for the living God. When shall I come and behold the face of God.
Oh for that kind of spiritual thirst. There is the story of a young man who came to Buddha seeking the true way of life, the path of deliverance? Buddha led him down to the river. The young man assumed that he was to undergo some ritual of purification, something like a baptism.
They walked out into the river for some distance. Then Buddha grabbed the man and held his head under water until he was almost out of breath and broke loose, aching for air. Quietly Buddha asked him, “When you thought you were drowning what did you desire most? The man gasped “air!” Then Buddha said, “When you want salvation as much as you wanted air, then you will get it.”
I am reminded of Jesus’ promised in Matthew 5 in the Beatitudes. Blessed are those who hunger and thirst after righteousness for they shall be filled. As we scratch our heads while reading or watching the news headlines perhaps we should be even more driven to ask the ultimate question: Am I driven by and undying passion in my pursuit of God, the giver of all life and wisdom? And if you are not He would be delighted for you to ask him to rekindle a deep desire to know Him.
Psalm 143:6 I spread out my hands to You; my soul longs for You like a thirsty land.