Though we search we’re never whole. There is always something missing. And somehow, someway, God is near in this. Christians may call it “the fall,” a product of original sin, some catastrophe unintended but fixable. If it’s this, it’s also much more than this. They say God will make it all okay, now or then, that in him we’re finally whole, satisfied, fulfilled, perfect. And yet, I couldn’t imagine living without this sense of lack, even brokenness. Sometimes it’s terrible, too much weight to bear. But if not for it, life would be false, fake, a carnival or circus. We would be sick from popcorn and cotton candy and Coke. We would stop caring, stop asking questions, stop trying to get at the truth of things. We would feel nothing, give up trying to know anything more, discover anything new.
Whether intended or not, this brokenness and lack and sense of something missing keeps us hungry for what is real, what is more, what is more real, thirsty for what is true. Again, I believe here God is most present (“My God, why have you forsaken me?”). This reality can either push us away or bring us near; that’s our choice. Excluding suffering and injustice, I for one cannot picture a world (yet) where all questions are answered and all doubts appeased without at the same time aestheticizing longing and desire, seeking and searching, which must never end (even in the next life dare I say it). Perhaps someday, yes, if the afterlife is what we say it is. Even so I would consent for this reality to remain into my eternity, with a God who exists in the doubts and questions, the lack and brokenness, more than a pretended wholeness and shallow fulfillment—emptiness disguised as acceptance. Somehow I believe it will be both; for even in God’s perfection of a redeemed, restored world and humanity, it may retain this sense of fundamental longing and desire which cannot exist apart from a semblance of brokenness and lack.
What good is a life or eternity without it?
What good is bread and water without hunger and thirst?
“Blessed are those who hunger and thirst for righteousness, for they shall be satisfied.” There is no satisfaction without first the hunger and thirst.