Restless Yearning

Have you ever experienced a restless yearning to go home after having been away for an extended period of time? It’s as if we have a built-in homing device constantly calling us back. The same is true with our spiritual life. Our hearts are like homing pigeons, they have an innate need to fly back home to God. I invite you to read more.

Homing pigeons have an instinctive navigational ability to find their way home. They have been known to fly as far as 1100 miles to get home. Egyptians used homing pigeons as far back as 3000 years ago. Homing pigeons were still being used during the 19th century, as a reliable source of military communication. After years of research, scientists still do not fully understand what gives these birds their extraordinary navigational ability.

Like homing pigeons, our hearts also have an uncanny directional sense to find their way home. It’s been theorized that we all have a “God shaped hole” in our heart. We have a longing for something outside of ourselves. Several great writers have addressed this.

It is thought that Blaise Pascal gave rise to this idea of having a God-shaped hole in our heart in 1670 when he wrote the following. “What else does this craving, and this helplessness, proclaim but that there was once in man a true happiness, of which all that now remains is the empty print and trace? This he tries in vain to fill with everything around him, seeking in things that are not there the help he cannot find in those that are, though none can help, since this infinite abyss can be filled only with an infinite and immutable object; in other words by God himself.”

In his book Mere Christianity, C.S. Lewis essentially said the same thing but with different words. He said, “Creatures are not born with desires unless satisfaction for those desires exists. A baby feels hunger: well, there is such a thing as food. A duckling wants to swim: well, there is such a thing as water. Men feel sexual desire: well, there is such a thing as sex. If I find in myself a desire which no experience in this world can satisfy, the most probable explanation is that I was made for another world.”

Finally, I think St. Augustine said it best when He wrote, “Because you have made us for Yourself, and our hearts are restless till they find their rest in Thee.” Catholic author Peter Kreeft referred to this quote from Augustine as “one of the greatest sentences ever written, the basic theme . . . of life itself.”

We all know the old saying, “You cannot put a square peg in a round hole.” Knowing that to be true, and knowing our hearts are restless until they find their rest in God, I wonder why we try so hard to fill that hole with everything other than God? Perhaps we find our answer in Jeremiah 17:9 when it states, “More tortuous than anything is the human heart, beyond remedy; who can understand it?”

Knowing that God is the one who fills the hole in our hearts, does this then mean that if we have God in our heart, we will never experience a sense of restlessness? Unfortunately, no it doesn’t. Many great Christians throughout the ages have still experienced temporary periods of restlessness. It seems that sometimes, rather than filling the hole in our heart, Jesus makes the hole even bigger for a while so that we long for Him all that much more. That may seem counterintuitive, but it is really a sign of His love for us.

Yes, our hearts are like homing pigeons, they long to be home with God. It is only with Him that we will find rest. Until we get to Heaven, that restlessness in our heart can never truly be satisfied. We must remain vigilant with our hearts. We must always draw closer to Him and resist everything that pulls us from Him.

Jesus taught us that when we eat food and drink water, we always thirst and grow hungry again.  It is only by eating His flesh and drinking His blood that we can be satisfied. We must feast on our Savior. He alone is the one who calms our restless heart.

We are destined by God, for God. As I said earlier, homing pigeons have been known to fly up to 1100 miles. On the other hand, God can call our hearts home, no matter how far from home they have wandered. We must ask ourselves these questions: With what earthly things have we tried to satisfy the inner yearning of our heart? Have they ever worked? Of course not. Let’s set our hearts on God!

I have modified the lyrics from one of John Denver’s great love songs for our closing prayer. Please join me in raising this prayer to God.

Lord, you fill up my heart

Like a night in a forest

Like the mountains in springtime

Like a walk in the rain

Like a storm in the desert

Like a sleepy blue ocean

Lord, please fill up my heart now

Come fill me again. Amen!


As always, I love to read your comments below as well as hear from you personally by clicking here.

Brian Pusateri
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  1. Ed Hinrichs on August 4, 2021 at 9:49 am

    Always a wonderful experience to read your reflections.

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