2017 marked the 30th anniversary of the release of U2’s classic Joshua Tree album. If people hadn’t heard of Bono, Edge and the rest of the band in early 1987, by March 9th you couldn’t escape them. With hits like “Where the Streets Have No Name” and “With Or Without You” – the garage band from Ireland invaded the United States and rocketed their way up the charts and started their journey to becoming the most popular rock band in the world.
There was one song on this album that caught my attention. It’s titled “I Still Haven’t Found What I’m Looking For,” and it was written like a modern-day gospel hymn. In it, lead singer Bono laments that he’s searched far and wide for something or someone to believe in, but he still hasn’t found what he’s looking for.
For many of us, that sentiment can feel familiar.
Many times it can feel like the burden is on us to go out and search for God. We see this emphasis reflected in many religions and denominations around the world. Somehow, we’re the ones who have to go find God. While we know we are called to pray to the Lord and seek his face, what’s really great about the character of our God is that he seeks us out. He’s the one who is moving heaven and earth to connect and dwell among us. The famous Swiss Protestant theologian and contemporary of Karl Barth, Emil Brunner, put it like this: “In the Bible it is not we who find a way to God; it is God who comes to us.”
A lot of us know that even when we think we’re pursuing God, we can sometimes find ourselves on the wrong track. We might have made a wrong turn somewhere, and we’re lost. But we don’t worship a God who just sits back and waits for us to find us – our Triune God is actively scaling the city walls, checking every mountain path, and leading the search-and-rescue team to find us where we are – and to bring us back to safety in him.
So the next time you hear Bono singing that he “still hasn’t found what he’s looking for,” remind yourself that from God’s perspective, he knows exactly where to find us, and that we, his beautifully created children, are exactly who he’s looking for. Only in our relationship with him will we ever find what we are looking for.
I’m Joseph Tkach, Speaking of LIFE.