In a quiet moment recently I put on my headphones, closed my eyes, and prayed a quick prayer asking God to speak to me. Lately I’ve been trying to talk at God less and be still to listen to Him more. My U2 playlist was on my iPod and “I Still Haven’t Found What I’m Looking For” from the Joshua Tree CD came on, one of my favorite songs. I thought about how I had at one time heard either Bono or The Edge say that this is the closest thing to a gospel song that they had recorded to date. I understand that Bono sometimes introduces it in concert as “a gospel song with a restless spirit.”
Hmmm. I listened intently to the lyric believing God was speaking through it. I heard Bono’s striving for God in this song, sometimes in good ways like climbing highest mountains and speaking with the tongue of angels, but other times in wrong ways like holding the hand of the devil. Either way, the song seems to say, after all the striving “I still haven’t found what I’m looking for.
Brennan Manning makes a similar point in The Furious Longing of God. The well-trusted guide along the spiritual path writes:
I’ve decided that if I had my life to live over again, I would not only climb more mountains, swim more rivers, and watch more sunsets; I wouldn’t only jettison my hot water bottle, raincoat, umbrella, parachute, and raft; I would not only go barefoot earlier in the spring and stay out later in the fall; but I would devote not one more minute to monitoring my spiritual growth. No, not one… I would simply do the next thing in love.
(Manning, Brennan. The Furious Longing of God. Colorado Springs:David C. Cook, 2009. 65-66).
We tend to talk about searching for God and finding Jesus, but all of this looking is not what we are supposed to be about. The Bible talks instead about abiding in God (one of 1 John’s favorite words). How wonderful it is to simply rest in the presence of God.
I think God has been encouraging me for some time now, and loudly in that moment, to stop trying so hard and just rest knowing He is there beside him. I pray I will continue to find that ability to stop seeking and simply dwell/rest/abide in God.
Oh, and in case I might have missed the point, God got through with his sense of humor. The very next song that played in shuffle mode was Rattle and Hum‘s live version of… “I Still Haven’t Found What I’m Looking For.”