One day not too long ago, I came across something I had written during my early college years. It was a remnant from my past, and yet the person who composed it was a stranger. As I read it, I recalled a plight of endless wandering. I would like to share with you a glimpse into the inner world of a young seeker who is today at home in the Father’s House.
A child, I wandered many paths seeking, searching until the nameless thing I sought eluded me.
The only way I knew I hadn’t found it was the emptiness it left inside.
Many nights I sought along the vacant path.
The darkness that enclosed me left its touch.
And yet in confusion, I reached out for it only to find myself deserted.
Oh, Darkness, lonely mother of orphaned thoughts, your thickness hid my tears.
At that time life was still filled with both promises and pleasures, but even as a young student I discovered that the joys of this life were fleeting treasures steeped in vanity. Something that is real is abiding, but pleasure lasts for a moment, and the emptiness it leaves is deeper than the joy it seemed to hold. I was not content to live a superficial life, even a good one, and at the end proclaim as King Solomon did in Ecclesiastes, “all is vanity”. And yet my search for something genuine and real was futile in the paths I sought.
But then I felt Time pressing me to leave.
Contentment wavered then evaporated.
The air around me let me sink again into the onrushing traffic of complexity.
My search again becomes an endless stream of tears.
A search indeed, because it has no end.
For searching tells of eternal trails that slip and slide through a myriad of traps.
There is no comfort, no rest, only borrowed intermissions that give me strength to continue on.
Oh, emptiness that has no boundary yet imprisons me in my mind’s cage.
Deep within there was a longing to discover the reason for my existence. Still, like so many, I encountered many dead ends in my search. Yet, as I searched, there was One who sought me patiently, lovingly, and tenderly. I turned to so many “answers” and as each failure brought me closer to despair, I wondered why I was born to live, grow old, and die all for nothing.
I always believed in God. I was raised in a staunch Italian Catholic home, steeped in ritual and tradition. I was educated in the best private schools. I never questioned my “faith” until I went away to college. Then, away from home for the first time, I observed a world full of hatred, envy and strife, of bitterness and deceit. I began to question and wonder. What is man? Why is he here on earth? An inner turmoil initiated an intense and desperate search. I no longer accepted the traditional religion in which I had been enveloped from infancy. I could not deny that God was real, and yet I had no experience of Him.
In my wandering, I attempted to find a substitute for God, knowing deep within that only He could satisfy my inward longing. I sought some kind of “spirituality” in Eastern mysticism. Even in that situation, the God of Glory who appeared to Abraham visited me. As I was reading a book that advocated a universality of religions, I came across a Bible verse. Out of all those words, only this Word created a response within my being. It was a lamp searching all my inward parts. As I realize now, that was God’s precious appearing. I cannot tell you how many times this Faithful One continued to come to me in my circumstances, eager to rescue and patiently waiting until I was ready to turn to Him.
Then, one day, as I had within my grasp everything I had ever wanted, deep within there was the realization that if I gained the whole world, it could never appease the gnawing hunger that afflicted me. Just at that time, I was led by the Lord’s infinite mercy to find the experience and enjoyment of Christ as a living reality. And so my searching ended.
Today, the joy of the Lord is my strength. Today I can say I know full peace and rest. Not only has the despair that plagued me vanished, but now I have a reason for living. This reason is simply God’s own purpose. He wants a people who care for nothing but to experience and express Christ. Not only is this God’s goal, but it has become my own goal also. The greatest joy on earth is to know this living Christ!
– P. D.