No matter the subject of your theology course, a good place to begin is to remind your students of the natural and insatiable human desire for God. Reprint the following as a worksheet. Choose five different students to read the quotations. Then allow time for all of the students to write answers to the questions in their journals. Allow the chance for followup discussion, first in small groups, and then by calling on volunteers to summarize the discussion for the entire class.
Our Desire for God
As human beings, we believe that all good things must come to an end and that nothing beautiful lasts forever. But we don’t like it. We want the good without end and beauty that never fades. That’s why we are constantly on the lookout for whatever is lasting and real. As Christians, we acknowledge that that everlasting reality is no thing or talent or attribute or even virtue. It is nothing less than God.
As the deer longs for streams of water, so my soul longs for you, O God. My being thirsts for God, the living God. When can I go and see the face of God?
The desire for God is written in the human heart, because man is created by God and for God; and God never ceases to draw man to himself. Only in God will he find the truth and happiness he never stops searching for.
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. If none of my earthly pleasures satisfy it, that does not prove that the universe is a fraud. Probably earthly pleasures were never meant to satisfy it, but only to arouse it, to suggest the real thing.
For everything that is not God is unable to fulfill my desires. It is you alone I seek, that I may have you. O Lord, open my heart. Jesus Christ, my Savior, the express image and character of your essence is that image and likeness I desire.
The simple desire for God is already the beginning of faith. All of us have doubts. They are nothing to worry about. Our deepest desire is to listen to Christ, who whispers in our hearts.
- Do any of your desires (e.g., relationships, reputation, security, comfort, material things, other) compete with your desire for God? Which ones?
- Have any of the desires you illustrated—or any others (e.g., sexual desire, selfishness, over-indulgence, status, money, etc.)—been overwhelming for you?
- What are you afraid of? What, if anything, does your fear tell you about your relationship with God?
- Right now—at this moment in your life—what is the state of your desire for God? Do you desire God? Do you desire to desire God?