Blaise Pascal said “There is a God shaped vacuum in the heart of ever man which cannot be filled with any created thing, but only by God, the Creator, made known through Jesus Christ.” At times we sense the truth of these words as dissatisfaction, a dull ache, a longing. Other times we are restless and feel driven toward wonder. One moment we feel disenchanted, the next moment we are transfixed. But we carry this ‘yearning’ for transcendence with us through all of life.
In Yearning For More: What Our Longings Tell Us about God and Ourselves, Barry Morrow examines the way this yearning manifests itself in our culture, in our routines, in our art and in our lives. In nine chapters and a conclusion he surveys the dissatisfaction we feel and where our longings take us. The author of Ecclesiastes (Solomon or Qoheleth) articulated disappointment in investing his life in that which is fleeting. What Morrow points out in this book is that so much of what we invest ourselves in holds the promise of something bigger, greater and more lovely than we can imagine. We feel isolated and desire connection, we have our mundane routines but long for more, we work for our daily bread but long for significance and impact and even our leisure points beyond a moment of respite from the daily grind. Literature and Film tell stories and point at another world. Our experience of pleasure and pain simultaneously causes us joy and makes us dissatisfied with temporal life.
Each of Morrow’s chapters build on the last. This inquiry into our yearnings opens our eyes to the ways each one of us long for something more, no matter how we invest ourselves. I really appreciate the depth and breadth of this book. Morrow is an astute observer of culture. As human creatures we long for significance, community, eternity and God. What Morrow does in this book is get us to pay attention to how these yearnings underpin how we spend our time and energy.
However this is a book which points, prods and hints. It does not ask for a plan of action. Morrow want us to examine life and find the fingerprint of God stamped there. He wants his readers to pay attention. But I couldn’t put my finger on who Morrow’s intended audience was. He does not always articulate explicit Christian truths but hints. In the end I decided that Morrow was speaking to all of us in the West who view the world materialistically and with a secular bias. We reduce reality to what we can see, taste, touch and we fail to pay attention to what our longings, yearnings and desires teach us. Morrow calls us to listen to where our yearnings ultimately take us.
I happily recommend this book and give it four stars ★★★★☆
Thank you to InterVarsity Press for providing me a copy of this book in exchange for this review.