One day, I was frantically rummaging through a cabinet in the kitchen, moving cans, bottles, and spices around on each shelf. My wife came into the kitchen and asked, “What are you looking for?” After a moment’s thought, I said, “I don’t remember.” I had gone on a mad search for something, but got so wrapped up in the search, I had forgotten what I was looking for. As I get older, I too often find myself dashing off into some room or another, only to arrive and realize I completely forgot what I was looking for in the first place!
“What are you looking for?” Jesus asked the same question on the banks of the Jordan to the two disciples who were following him. (Jn:35-42). They too might have been searching for something, but they didn’t exactly know what that something was.
It makes me wonder. How would I answer if Jesus turned to me and asked, “What are you looking for?” My thought process would go something like this. I’ve got a great job, a lovely marriage, solid financials, a beautiful family, and good health. In my spare time, I like gardening, hiking, reading, paddling, and wasting time playing backgammon online.”
My answer honestly might be, “Nothing much. I’ve got everything I need.” I would be no different than the many others who heard John the Baptist cry out, “Behold, the Lamb of God.” Surprisingly, after such a bold proclamation, only two followed Jesus.
Yet if I were to be brutally honest with myself, my perceived self-satisfaction would be insubstantial, a morning mist that disappears with the noon-day heat. There is a restlessness planted deep within my heart. In my life, I am still figuratively dashing from room to room on this frantic search. Upon arrival, I have no idea why I am there.
Saint Augustine described his life-long search in his Confessions. He discovered that the object of his search all along had been the Lord: “You have made us for yourself, O Lord, and our hearts are restless until they rest in you.” (c. 397)
I imagine Jesus asking me again, with a deeper emphasis: “What are you really looking for?” I might then ponder the yearnings in my heart. Joy. Belonging. Peace. Satisfaction. Purpose. Security. Hopefully, I would come to the same realization as Saint Augustine. These heartfelt desires cannot be found outside of God.
If Jesus were to ask you, “What are you really looking for?” How would you respond?