All human beings have desire; that inner drive and attraction which pulls us toward things. It is evident when we smell delicious food, see a beautiful landscape and strive for professional goals. Whatever those things are that touch us in our soul, they are expressions of our “hunger”.
The culture is full of people pursuing this reality in various ways. Our art, industry, and entertainment are constantly promoting things which promise to bring contentment. In general this is good and normal. After all, to be human is to desire. It is part of our basic humanity to seek fulfillment.
We experience fulfillment for a while and then start pursuing the next thing. Some desires last a day, some a year, or some for life (i.e. running errands, project at work, marriage & kids). Our level of commitment seems to affect how satisfying something can be. Difficult tasks which require more effort bring about greater satisfaction, while tasks which don’t require much effort don’t really bring much satisfaction.
However, no matter how many wonderful experiences and desires we achieve, it is never totally enough. We never stop desiring all together. Part of this is because we are in space and time, and those never stop. But, really it is mostly because, underneath the surface of life, we hunger for something which will satisfy us completely.
Human beings are unique creatures that have a hunger for the infinite and transcendent. Unfortunately, we live in a finite world with finite things. So, we find ourselves in a dilemma. What do we do with our infinite desire as finite creatures? Well, we must find some connection to the transcendent.
Faith and Desire
It is not by accident that Jesus’ first words in the Gospel are “What are you looking for?” (Jn. 1). God knows we are creatures searching for fulfillment. He is the one who made us this way and He wants us to be satisfied. However, because of our fallen nature we do not always trust this to be true. We stumble around seeking our own ways to be fulfilled. Faith is the light we need to find our way in the darkness. It is our connection to the infinite and transcendent God.
Contrary to some cultural stereotypes, Christianity is a way of life centered on desire. Every rule, law, and commandment is ultimately for the purpose of fulfilling human desire. The Scriptures confirm this and show God always has our best interest in mind. Jesus, Himself, said, “I came so that they might have life and have it more abundantly” (Jn. 10).
The key is believing that God is our deepest “hunger”. He is eternal, infinite, and unchanging; everything that we truly desire. We really do have a God-shaped hole which nothing else can fill. If we allow our infinite hunger to be fulfilled by God, then our finite hungers will more naturally be satisfied. We will desire things the way God desires them to be.