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Have You Found What You’re Looking For?

Weekly Devotionals

Have You Found What You’re Looking For?

For in him all things were created; things in heaven and on earth, visible and invisible, whether thrones or powers or rulers or authorities; all things have been created through him and for him. – Colossians 1:16

In 1987, the Irish rock band U2, released a song called “I Still Haven’t Found What I’m Looking For” from The Joshua Tree album. Lead singer, Bono, admitted that the music and the lyrics were inspired by African-American spirituals, which, themselves, were actually inspired by the book of Psalms. More specifically, spirituals were based off of a common genre of psalms called lament psalms, which often began with woes and cries of self-pity and hopelessness, but then ended with words of hope, joy, and worship to the Lord.

The protagonist in “I Still Haven’t Found What I’m Looking For” is also singing a lament psalm. He is in a constant search for something, but it does not seem like he knows exactly what it is he is looking for or how and where to find it. Still, he knows that he desperately needs it, and goes off in search for it. He looks far and wide searching for whatever it is. He climbs the highest mountains, and runs through fields, and he even travels to the big city, all in the hopes of finding the object of his search, but no matter where he goes his search comes up empty. Perhaps whatever he is looking for is not in a location, but rather is in a relationship, so he tries to find his answer in the sweet kiss of a woman; and although he felt like there was healing in her touch, he eventually ends up getting burned by her. He then turns to false religions and spiritual experiences, but the truth cannot be found there. And then he even claims to hold the hand of the devil, which could be an allusion to a multitude of sins, and even though his sins may seem like they are keeping him warm at night, he says his body was as cold as a stone… perhaps as cold as death itself.

Colossians 1:16 tells us that all of creation, including all mankind, was created through Christ and for Christ. Therefore, we all have an innate desire to be with Christ and to worship Christ. I think we all, at one point or another, start to have an unquenchable thirst or desire for something, but before we personally meet Christ, no matter where we look, we simply cannot find it. We look for answers and purpose in our work, in our leisure, our lifestyles, our relationships, material possessions… in whatever it is that we thought would make us happy. Without knowing it, these become the idols we worship. Yet, anything besides Christ is not the answer, and it leaves us thirsting for even more.

In John 14:6, Jesus proclaims that he is the way, the truth, and the life, and there is no other way except through him. As all psalms go, the man in this song finally comes to this great realization in the end. The final verse goes:

I believe in the Kingdom Come

Then all the colors will bleed into one, bleed into one

But yes, I’m still running

You broke the bonds

And you loosed the chains

Carried the cross of my shame

Oh my shame, you know I believe it

I don’t believe it is a coincidence that this song comes from an album titled The Joshua Tree. Joshua trees are found in the dry and desolate California and Nevada deserts, and are often the only sign of life for miles around. It gets its name because the branches are facing upward as if it is worshiping God. In the desolate wilderness of our lives, there is another Joshua tree that we look toward, which is our only sign of life, and that is the tree of the New Testament Joshua; the cross of Jesus Christ.

I’ve included the link to a gospel version of the U2 classic below. I hope this can be a fun and refreshing kick-start to the new week, and if anything have a chuckle at the 80’s fashion statements in the video link. Throughout this week, although we may often find ourselves in the midst of the wilderness, I pray that we can look solely upon the Joshua tree of Christ, and truly find what it is we are looking for.