Tuesday, November 22, 2016

The Heart’s True Home

“(God) has put eternity into man's heart…” (Ecclesiastes 3:11).

We lived with a Westie for a number of years—a west highland terrier that looked a lot like the white dog on Dewar’s commercials. 

Wasties are tough little dudes, bred to kill badgers and other critters deemed pestiferous by the Scots. They were taught to tunnel into varmint holes and engage the enemy in its lair. Little Vietnam tunnel rats, they were. Bred to search and destroy. 

Our Westie was many generations removed from her origins, but she still retained that instinct. She hated “meeces to pieces”—rats, squirrels, rodents of all kinds, an instinct put into her through years of breeding. She couldn’t get that notion out of her head.

On one occasion she became obsessed by some critter under a rock in our back yard. She didn’t know what it was; we didn’t know what it was. No matter, nothing could dissuade her. She dug and dug until she tunneled under the rock. She would have forsworn meals and sleep if we hadn’t dragged her out of the hole and into the house each night. 

Now I ask you: Why do we busy ourselves with our compulsions? Why do we have to climb unclimbed mountains, ski near-vertical slopes? Run class-5 rapids, challenge the forces of nature? Why must we pursue, pursue, pursue that one existential break–through? What is it but an instinct for God. It has been bred into us. We cannot not want to find God. Eternity resides in our hearts.

We don’t know that, of course. We only know that we long for something.You don’t know what it is you want,” Mark Twain said, “but you want it so much you could almost die.” 

Life, on one level, is very simple: God is our heart’s true home. As Augustine said, in that most famous of all phrases: ”Oh God you have made us for yourself and our hearts are restless until they find rest in you.“ 

And what is the heart? That unexplored, fathomless, mysterious abyss within us that only God can fill.

David Roper

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