It would seem that Our Lord finds our desires not too strong, but too weak. We are half-hearted creatures, fooling about with drink and sex and ambition when infinite joy is offered us, like an ignorant child who wants to go on making mud pies in a slum because he cannot imagine what is meant by the offer of a holiday at the sea. We are far too easily pleased. (C. S. Lewis, The Weight of Glory)
We can think our desires for earthly stuff and past-times is so strong that they overwhelm our eternal desires. As Lewis suggests, perhaps that’s not exactly accurate. Perhaps it is our desire for God that is not strong enough. We let it get overwhelmed with earthly stuff. That makes sense, because it’s what surrounds us, what we see. We live on earth, and sometimes, it’s difficult to put first what we can’t see or what we think we can put off for a while. We think we’ll get more serious about our relationship with God later. If we know much about Him at all, we know He’s patient, forgiving, and merciful. So, He’ll accept what He can get from us, right?
Of course, but that doesn’t mean it’s always enough. God knows our motives. He knows our preoccupations. He knows our struggles, our doubts, and our misunderstandings. He also knows our rejection and rationalizations.
Longing for eternal life for Him isn’t a “someday” thing. Eternity is now, too. Longing for eternal life with Him isn’t about life in heaven, hanging out with loved ones, or getting our way, because we think that’s what heaven is. There’s a lot we don’t know about heaven, but we need to fact check what we claim to know, because much of it just makes us feel better.
Longing for God isn’t about refraining from some things as much as it is pursuing others, especially God Himself. When we do, we set aside the mud pies to savor something else, something much better, beyond what we can imagine.
Would you rather play in the mud?