The world tells me that he who dies with the most toys wins. Wrong. He who dies with the most toys dies. The world lies. The world tells me to tune into myself, become self-actualized, and lift myself up by my own bootstraps. Tried it. Can’t be done. The world lies. The world tells me that I will find enlightenment by creating my own universe, or by melding into the eternal oneness of it all. Sheer nonsense. God is the Creator. I am the created. I will never be the Creator. The world lies. And lies. And lies. 

Before I invited Jesus into my life, I spent too much time believing these lies, too much time chasing phantoms down rabbit trails. And it led nowhere. The phantoms turned out to be self-seeking glory that left me standing alone. The rabbit trails were materialistic paths of my own devising that made my selfishness all the more transparent. 

Surely my journey is familiar to you. The same provocations beguile every man. Ecclesiastes, one of the most soul-stirring books of the Bible, achingly illustrates man’s condition and the hardwired desire of our souls for something transcendent. Listen closely to its words, spoken through Solomon, a man who “had it all”–riches, power, and thousands of people at his beck and call: “I have seen all the works which have been done under the sun, and behold, all is vanity, a striving after wind.” (Ecclesiastes 1:14) Chasing phantoms down rabbit trails that lead to nowhere. Futile. 

And yet, we know there is more. Deep in our souls, there is a craving. It whispers that there is a better life than one of self-centered striving. A German word, sehnsucht (there is no English counterpart), comes close to capturing the disposition of these cravings. It roughly translates to “inconsolable longings.” Such longings point to something we desire, yet in the throes of our daily lives, we can’t quite seem to grasp. The 4th century theologian, St. Augustine, proclaimed as much when he laid bare his soul and made his impassioned avowal, “You have made us for Yourself, O Lord, and our heart is restless until it rests in Thee.” Revealed in this confession is both the source of our desire and its cure. We long to rest in Him. 

The shouts of this world are designed to ensnare. But take heart, they are no match for the triumphant whispers of our Lord. Reject the lies. Shun the phantoms. Abandon the rabbit trails. Then listen as He summons us onward: “Whether you turn to the right or to the left, your ears will hear a voice behind you, saying, ‘This is the way; walk in it.’” (Isaiah 30:21)

And in these whispers, we shall find our way.

I hope this encourages you today.

-Kevin Murray
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