This is part 1 of the Finding Your Way Back to God series. 

Every person has a longing to be loved, to find meaning, and to understand their suffering. The answers to the questions we ask are found in God.

Is life giving you what you want, or do you feel let down? Do you think that God or the cosmos owes you? The problem isn’t that we have longings and feel dissatisfied. The problem is that we try to fulfill our dissatisfaction with things other than God.

So often, we look for the good life in all the wrong places, like in addictive behaviors, relationships, or the pursuit of success and money. This leads to frustration because eventually, we realize these things aren’t enough. This frustration is one of the ways God shows us things aren’t quite right in our hearts. So here are three longings built into every human heart and how they can help lead you back to God.

We’re All Looking for Love

Glynn Wolfe holds the record of most monogamous marriages in US history: twenty-nine! His longest was eleven years and his shortest was nineteen days. Of all his wives and forty children, only one child attended his funeral.

[Related: Managing Toxic Relationships]

Everyone is looking for love, and sometimes we’ll turn to it from any source. But ultimately this desire comes from God because we’re not meant to do life alone.

Genesis 2:18 Then the Lord God said, “It is not good for the man to be alone. I will make a helper who is just right for him.”

Adam lived in God’s perfect world, but it wasn’t good for him because he was alone. So God made Eve. All of us need the love of others in our lives, and to be truly complete, all of us need to receive the love of God through Jesus Christ (1 John 4:10).

We All Want Our Lives to Matter

We all have a desire to accomplish something in the world. This desire comes from God.

Jeremiah 1:5 (MSG) Before I shaped you in the womb, I knew all about you. Before you saw the light of day, I had holy plans for you.

God had a purpose for Jeremiah, and the same is true for us. But if we don’t find our purpose in God, we will go to other places searching for a sense of value. We’ll pursue success, money, recognition, or something else instead of our God-given purposes. But true fulfillment comes from God:

Ephesians 2:10 For we are God’s masterpiece. He has created us anew in Christ Jesus, so we can do the good things he planned for us long ago.

God has meaningful things for us to do, but if we don’t turn to Him to learn those things, we’ll never find them, and we’ll live in drudgery as a result.

We All Need to Know “Why”

Why is life hard? Why is there evil? People have wondered for centuries. The Bible offers the answers we seek:

Genesis 1:31 Then God looked over all he had made, and he saw that it was very good!

Everything was created good by God. Evil entered into God’s creation because people used their free will to disobey God (Genesis 3). This is called “sin.” Sin is anytime we choose our way over God’s way, and it is also a principle that exists in the world because of that first sin by Adam and Eve.

Romans 8:20-21 (ESV) For the creation was subjected to futility, not willingly, but because of him who subjected it, in hope that the creation itself will be set free from its bondage to corruption and obtain the freedom of the glory of the children of God.

Despite this, God is good and loving. He desires all of us to come back to Him, but we must choose to do so. As the Apostle Paul said in 2 Corinthians:

2 Corinthians 5:21 For God made Christ, who never sinned, to be the offering for our sin, so that we could be made right with God through Christ.

[Related: A Drive for Purpose | Ryan’s Story]

That’s why we need Jesus to set us free from the bondage of sin. He answers the “why” question for all of us: why are we here? What are we supposed to be doing? Why is there evil and suffering? Jesus is the only real answer to the three longings embedded in every human heart, and the first step to finding your way back to God is trusting Jesus.

Key Points: 

  1. We’re all looking for love. Genesis 2:18
  2. We all want our lives to matter. Jeremiah 1:5
  3. We all need to know why. Romans 8:20-21

Talk About It

  1. What is your initial reaction to this topic? What jumped out at you?
  2. What are some “dissatisfying” things about your life or “longings” you have? Why do you think these are your dissatisfactions and longings?
  3. Why are we all “looking for love?” What are healthy ways this manifests in our lives? What are some unhealthy ways?
  4. Why do you think God created us with a desire to love and be loved?
  5. We all have goals and desires. What are some of your life goals? Why are these things important to you?
  6. What are some ways that our goals and our sense of purpose can become twisted by sin and the world? Share an example if you have any.
  7. Read Ephesians 2:8-10. Where does a sense of work/purpose come in with our relationship with God? Why is the sequence laid out in Ephesians 2:8-10 so important for understanding the right relationships between faith and good works?
  8. What are some ways Jesus has answered the “why” questions in your life? Or if you have not yet trusted Jesus, what are some “why” questions you have for Him?