“But I still haven’t found what I’m looking for.” You may recognize those words as the title of a hit song recorded by the rock group, U2. The song was a number one hit for the Irish superstar band back in 1987. In the song, Bono of U2 sings of relationships and religion. While varied and satisfying, evidently they are not satisfying enough. He sings that there is still something out there he is looking for.
I think I may have found it. It’s an expensive Italian-made SUV. Well, at least that’s what the TV commercial said. To be specific, it’s an Alfa Romeo Stelvia SUV, which costs around $45,000. Like I said, it’s Italian, and it’s expensive. But hey, if it’s what you’re looking for…
The commercial begins with a voiceover, with a woman speaking in a soft, almost seductive voice. “I am what you look for,” she says. The commercial continues as she describes the Stelvia, with the red SUV weaving around curves and city streets. As Gomer Pyle once said about a lady, “She’s nice, she’s real nice.” (Yes, another “Andy Griffith Show” reference.) The car is nice, real nice. Maybe it is what I’m looking for.
“I am what you look for.” Back in the Old Testament in the Bible, God had told Moses to go and tell Pharaoh to let the Israelites leave their slavery of Egypt. Moses asked God who should he tell the Israelites and Pharaoh had sent him. “And God said to Moses, ‘I AM WHO I AM. Thus you shall say to the children of Israel, I AM has sent me to you.’” (Ex. 3:14)
“I AM WHO I AM.” Biblical scholar, John Piper, has written that those five words may be the most significant words in the Bible. He gives several reasons why. First, God exists. He is there. He is here. Second, no reality exists behind God. In other words, God’s personality and power are owing to himself only and to no other. Third, Piper states, God does not change. He is who he is. Fourth, God’s name, “I AM WHO I AM,” implies that God is an inexhaustible source of power. He is energy. He is power.
Years ago, I heard it stated that when God created you and me, he left a hole in us that only he could fill. And we spend much time, energy and resources trying to fill that vacuum. We may not understand that there is a hole there. We just know we are missing something. We may try to fill it with positive things, like family, friends, hard work, good deeds, and even religion. But the hole never quite gets filled. So, like the song, we still haven’t found what we’re looking for.
But, sadly, we often attempt to fill the God vacuum with not so positive things, like drugs, unhealthy relationships, greed and consumption. So, because of persuasive advertising, we feel that maybe that expensive Italian SUV is just what I am looking for, and it will be what I am missing.
But maybe the TV commercial is correct when the spokesperson says, “I am what you look for. It’s not an Alfa Romeo Stelvia SUV, but the great “I AM,” God. God, who has revealed himself to us in human form in the person of Jesus Christ. Jesus, who declared that he has come inorder that we may have life, and “may have it to the full.” (John 10:10) No gap, no hole, no vacuum. That is what we are looking for.
Back to the commercial for the expensive Italian SUV. At the end, the spokesperson, still talking in her soft, seductive voice, declares, “I am the end of your search.” Another true statement, but not about the Alfa Romeo Stelvia. One day, at the end of our search, we will meet the great I AM, God. Saint Augustine, one of the early church leaders, was correct when he wrote, “You have made us for yourself, Lord. Our hearts are restless until they can find rest in You.” That red Italian SUV is nice, real nice. But is it really what we’re looking for?
Mac McPhail, raised in Sampson County, lives in Clinton and can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.