Transformation – Part 1

joshua tree 2“Behold I make all things new.”

Revelation 21:5

The Joshua Tree by U2…for me that’s where it all began.  Funny, I know.  A blog post about developing a spirit-centered life that begins with a shout out to a secular music album from the 1980’s.  But, let’s be clear; it’s not just an album from the 80’s.  The Joshua Tree was and still is to this day, in my mind, The Greatest Album of my lifetime!  If you disagree don’t worry…I’ll pray for you!  One song in particular stands out on that album, “I Still Haven’t Found What I’m Looking For”.  Like all things classic it transcends.  It bridges the gaps of time and geography.  It speaks to men and women, young and old.  It wasn’t born of Cold War Era angst.  It was born out of a longing that has been passed on to every generation since Adam.  It’s an anthem that cries out from deep within the heart of man, “I don’t know what it is, but there must be more!”

I was in the 8th grade and like Bono I was searching.  I really didn’t know for what.  I just knew I was unsatisfied.  I grew up surrounded by religion.  I swear by 8th grade I had spent more days in church than I had in school!  Ok maybe that’s an exaggeration, but truth be told school was the only place I had spent more days at than church.  Sunday morning was a three course buffet: Sunday School, Sunday Morning Service, and Sunday Night Service.  Then there was the midweek pick-me-ups, Wednesday night church and midweek Bible study.  Hey and since we’re keeping score let’s not forget every conference, evangelist’s revival service and annual showing of the Thief in the Night trilogy you can imagine!  Now if you’re wondering what the ‘Thief in the Night’ trilogy is…don’t.  Please, let me spare you.  It was awful.  If you thought the Left Behind series was cheesy multiply it by 1,000 (sorry Kurt Cameron, I do love you!) and you’ll get the picture.  And if you happened to like the Left Behind series then imagine it completely desecrated by your least favorite actor and actress and you’ll get roughly the same image.   Either way it was painful.  But, I digress.  Here’s the point! I was surrounded by religion.  I was surrounded by church.  I was surrounded by information about God.  Yet I was unsatisfied, aching inside my soul with a conviction that cried out, “There must be something more.”  Like Bono, I may not have known what I was seeking, but I knew I hadn’t found it yet.

I believe most everyone at some point in their life wrestles with this dilemma.  However, rather than turn and face this existential crisis many try to circumvent the search and simply settle for the “it” of their own creation or choosing.  What is the “it”?  It’s different for every person.  It is that thing which we try to attribute meaning and satisfaction to in the here and now.  Maybe your “it” is the pursuit of personal pleasure.  Sexual exploits which seem rapturous in the moment, but leave you empty the next day…unsatisfied.  Perhaps it’s the “comfortable numbness” of drugs or alcohol that never lasts.  For many it’s money.  For some it’s a new house.  For others it’s a spouse.  Maybe yours is kids.  I don’t know, but you do…and so does God.  One thing’s for sure though.  Our “it” never satisfies…

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