St. Augustine famously said, “for You have formed us for Yourself, and our hearts are restless till they find rest in You” (Confessions 1.1.1). Though I’ve never seen a full-scale discussion of the Bible’s presentation of the “inner apologetic,” how the soul is designed to yearn for God, one finds glimmers of such at least in these verses in the Bible:
Delight yourself in the Lord
and he will give you the desires of your heart (Ps 37:4).
Glory in his holy name;
let the hearts of those who seek the Lord rejoice (Ps 105:3).
My soul yearns for you in the night;
in the morning my spirit longs for you (Isa 26:9).
Erwin McManus has a recent book that is full-scale, readable exploration of this very theme. The book is called Soul Cravings
. He says this in a hundred ways: “If God is real and you are created by him, your soul already knows it.”
I really enjoyed this book because I kept asking a question I’m hoping it’s a question you’ve asked and pondered:
How far can we go with this inner apologetic? How far will the inner apologetic lead us? Is there something written into the fabric of every human being that God exists and that we can only find genuine rest/happiness in that God?
McManus explores the inner apologetic through three themes: love (intimacy), destiny, and meaning.
Erwin is creative, in fact very creative, and this book shows it: there are no (yougottabekiddin’ me!) page numbers. There are entries, 68 of them. About equally divided among the three themes. The book is filled with stories, some of them hilarious and always witty, and these stories are drawn upon to reveal that each human has soul cravings for God. Those cravings can only be satisfied with God, and those cravings show up in our quest for intimacy, destiny, and meaning. The book could be used in an anthropology class.
What I liked most about this book, other than the constant searching it did within me about how far this inner apologetic can go, was the deadly serious observations about life and wisdom and our purpose in this life. Like this one: “If you try to ignore [your craving for love], if you think that you can live your life without love, you’re even in worse shape than the person who’s desperate to find it.” Or this: “If God is love, those who love God best would love people most.” And this: “When we stop dreaming, we start dying.” And this: “We have to believe in tomorrow to function well today.”
What about this one? “Jesus,” when he said he was the way, the truth, and the life, “moves truth from impersonal to personal. He moved it from rational to relational. He was telling his disciples the truth isn’t an answer; it is a person.”