(In this latest blog series, I am sharing the stories behind some of my recorded music along with the song for you to hear. The music link and lyrics are included here. I hope you enjoy it!)

In the middle of these weird, perplexing, and sometimes scary times I believe all of us are deeply aware of our innate, inner sense of longing for something more, something better, and something utterly loving and beautifully unshakeable.

We look for the antidote for that inner emptiness in a myriad of ways and in countless places and people. Even as the thrill of a momentary sense of happiness can dull the longing within, eventually we land back in the harsh reality that there is a part of our being that cannot be totally satisfied.  There is no person, place, or thing on this planet that can perfectly supply or fill the empty place within each of us.

Believe it or not, that hollow place in our being is there for a reason: To point us to God. Many centuries ago a man named Augustine put it this way:

 “Because God has made us for Himself, our hearts are restless until they rest in Him”

We need God to find fulfillment and meaning in this life. All else will leave us empty, disillusioned, and despondent. With God, the fresh wind of His presence enters our heart and gives us new purpose and hope.

Incredibly, God passionately desires for us to know and experience His unparalleled, unfailing, unshakeable love. He even longs for us to come to Him!

God is the only One who can perfectly fill that hole in the soul of every person. Why can I claim this? Because God designed and uniquely fashioned each one of us. A part of that design was the inclusion of a set-apart place that only He can fill. The problem is that we get so wrapped up in the short-term, sugar-high approaches to easing the pain of the emptiness inside that we forget the real, life-altering answer that is only found in experiencing God.

Even as God allows us to go our own misguided way, He never stops waiting for us to turn to Him for the real antidote to our diseased and confused souls.

There’s a story that Jesus once told about a young man who took his living father’s inheritance —essentially telling his dad “good riddance”— as he left to the big city to fill his soul’s hunger for good times and hard living. After the thrill of the good times was gone, along with all his money, housing, and so-called friends, the young man found himself in the squalor of a pig barn. The ache in his soul was still there, and even more pronounced. Then the young man remembered his dad, and went back to beg to be a lowly, hired employee of the lowest rank. Most amazing to me is what Jesus said about the Father: He had spent days, weeks, months, or even years looking down the road for his long-lost son to return. Elated at the site of his son’s return, the father ran to embrace his boy and then restored him, not as an hired employee, but as beloved member of his family.

That is a picture of God’s love and desire for you, my friend. He has been longing and waiting for you to come back to Him. The day we say yes to God in the person of Jesus Christ is the moment when the missing puzzle piece in our soul is put in place by God Himself.

To be sure, life in this world won’t be perfect, but in Christ you’ll have a new heart, a new spirit, and a new purpose—now and throughout eternity.

I wrote the song “Holy Longing” with Augustine’s words in mind. I was honored and thrilled to record the song with a prolific musician, Mina Fisher, an acclaimed cellist for the Minnesota Orchestra. It was a recording session I will always cherish as I played piano and sang with this great musician.

Even as I share the song with you, I encourage you to seek God—even return to Him—with the holy longing He placed in you before you were even born. Experiencing God in your very being is the start of the greatest relationship and experience you will ever know, as Augustine once wrote:

“To fall in love with God is the greatest romance; to seek Him the greatest adventure; to find Him, the greatest human achievement”

God bless you!

Chris Atkins

Holy Longing

Words and music by Christopher J. Atkins © 2003. All rights reserved

The further I run from You

The further I run from me

And the canyon inside of my heart

Nothing that I can touch

Defines me near as much

As my heart, it’s the puzzle

Missing one part.

More than just human

It must be divine

The part of me that’s incomplete

‘til I am yours and you are mine.

I’ve got a holy longing

A holy longing

a holy longing for you.

You know I’m wholly longing       

Wholly longing

Wholly longing for you.

The more that I run to you

I know that you see right through

The camouflage I wear on my heart           

You know me through and through

And sometimes that scares me, too

But your love is much greater

Than the fear in my heart.

More than just human

It must be divine

The part of me that’s incomplete

‘til I am yours and you are mine.

I’ve got a holy longing

A holy longing

a holy longing for you.

You know I’m wholly longing       

Wholly longing

Wholly longing for you.

The more that I run to you…

You know I’m wholly longing

Wholly, wholly, wholly longing       

Wholly longing for you.

The more that I run to you            

The more that I run to you.