by Terry Wardle
“You arrive into this world searching for someone who is searching for you.” I have heard these words from author and psychiatrist, Dr. Curt Thompson and read them in his books. Each time I do, something deep inside my being cries out “Here I am!”
It is like being lost in impenetrable darkness, when suddenly I hear someone call out my name in the night. “Terry, I have been looking and looking for you.” Joy mixed with hope erupts, and light finally penetrates the desperation of being alone.
Thompson’s insight represents one of the deep, if not the deepest, longings we experience as human beings. It is the cry to be found, to belong, and the ache to be significant in the heart of another. This drive lies beneath so much of what we do, and the choices we make in life.
“Searching for you.” There is something powerful about that notion, the idea that there is a person who is not satisfied until they find you. Not satisfied to find just any someone, but specifically find you, and not rest until that discovery is complete. We are desperate to be found in the searching eyes of another that communicate, “The party does not begin until I find you.”
This search is at the heart of the Gospel of the Kingdom. God is relentless in his searching, which began after the fall when he cried out to Adam and Eve, “Where are you?” It is symbolized in the Song of Solomon, as the Lover passionately pursues his beloved. And of course, it is at the heart of three parables of Jesus in Luke 14, represented by lost sheep, lost coins, and a lost son. At the end of each search, a cosmic party results, because the one longed for, you, is found by the One who crossed the universe to bring you into his heart. Jesus was thinking of you when he said that he came “To seek and to save.”
I wonder what feelings arise when you consider that the Father sent the Son to search for you? Everything about the incarnation, crucifixion, and resurrection of Christ is centered on the seeking heart of God, and you are at the center of that search. God loves you, looks for you, and wants to embrace you into his eternal life. In a sense, all you must do is cry out, “Here I am!”
There is of course that other dimension to Curt Thompson’s statement. We are to be at least unconsciously searching for the one who is searching for us. We play an active part in this dance. Not equal by any means, but certainly active. We must search.
My father spent over forty years underground mining coal. It was a high risk job that saw more than a few of his friends either killed or trapped in cave-ins. I asked him once about the potential hopelessness of being trapped underground. He told me that two things helped miners survive mentally. The first, was to do everything possible to dig out. The second, the realization that there were countless others on the outside digging in with far more powerful tools. He said, “We did our bit for sure, but knowing a search team was on the way made all the difference in the world”
What comfort and joy it brings to know Jesus is searching for us. But there is a searching we do as well, looking for Him. I know from experience that longing to be seen in another’s eyes can at times make us undiscerning and vulnerable. We can too easily, in our own searching for someone searching for us, find ourselves connecting to what in the end will not bring us to freedom. In the end, it births a desperation that we will never be truly known.
This is why our search must extend to the One who left Heaven to find us, and may we be satisfied with nothing or no one less. Granted, loving one another is a great and practical way to satisfy the need to be found in the heart of another. Ultimately however, that connection in Christian community should stir all the more desire to find our home in the heart of God. He and he alone will ultimately fill your desire to be found, and known.
This ache, this desire to be fully known, was written of by Blaise Pascal in the 17th Century.
“What else does this craving, and this helplessness, proclaim but that there was once in man a true happiness, of which all that now remains is the empty print and trace? This he tries in vain to fill with everything around him, seeking in things that are not there the help he cannot find in those that are, though none can help, since this infinite abyss can be filled only with an infinite and immutable object; in other words by God himself.”
- Blaise Pascal, Pensées VII(425)
The deep desire to be found was placed in you by God, and will only be filled when in turn you cry out, “Here am I.” I am confident that you have felt that desire your entire life, searching for the One who is searching for you, even when you did not know of either his searching or the true focus of your desire. I encourage you to open your heart to its deepest longing, again and again and again, and open your eyes to the daily coming of One who has always been coming for you.
Terry Wardle is the founder and President of Healing Care Ministries. He is a popular author and dynamic speaker who leads seminars and retreats that equip pastors, counselors, clinicians, and spiritual directors. Terry and his wife, Cheryl, have three adult children and six grandchildren. They reside in Ashland, Ohio.