The Desire for Newness by Jack Walsh


“The desire we have in our hearts for newness is a desire that is pointing directly towards Christ as the answer, a desire that God himself put there”

As I look out the window of the plane at the world of crop-circles and obscure little towns below me, I wonder where I am. Maybe somewhere over Nebraska or South Dakota? I can see the edges of the terrain where the tamed land and crop circles of farms taper off into the rugged troughs of cattle-pastures and barren ranchland.

I picture myself back down on the ground, several years ago. I imagine all of the times that I used to climb into my Jeep back in high school and try to get lost, to find the most interesting and remote place that I could. Everything seemed to be an adventure, an expedition into the unknown of rural Kansas.

As this memory comes to my mind, for some reason I am instantly saddened. Up here at 35,000 feet, I can see everything below me. I can see every field around; I can see the outlines of every piece of landscape and where open land meets its end at the next tamed farm field, river valley, or road. It seems as if there is nothing new here for human eyes to see – eyes have surely seen before what I am seeing. How naive I was back in high school to think that I could possibly discover some magical piece of land that had never been discovered. At least, since the dawn of planes and satellites, everything has been discovered, there is nothing new to see in this country. A claim of ownership is put on every last piece of land in our nation. The newness of discovery seems to have no hope here.

Why, then, do we still hope? Humans crave newness. This manifests itself in a variety of ways. We seek new relationships, new inventions (in-nov-ation), new styles, new music, new experiences. As much as we try to grasp, things can only truly be new just once, for one instant of the present. After a fleeting moment of initial encounter in the present with the new, all things become old. Then we get bored and we move on to the next thing. It seems that humans have the Midas touch of turning the new into the old. So why, then, do we still seek to discover? Why do we still think that there can be hope in newness?

Because there is hope in newness. We are just not looking for it in the right place. “Behold, I make all things new.” (REV 21:5) Christ is the only newness that can stand the test of time. His newness to those with whom he dwelt during his human life is the same newness that we can experience today. The desire we have in our hearts for newness is a desire that is pointing directly towards Christ as the answer, a desire that God himself put there. And the true discovery that we long to make is a discovery of the heart of God. He has infinite depth there waiting for us to explore. There are places of His heart that no human has ever been. There are places of His heart that are meant for you and only you. There are endless worlds of truth, goodness, and beauty that can only be discovered by you and are set aside for you to explore for all eternity.

If you only view the Earth as an end in itself, just a set of already-discovered lands, then you will not be satisfied. However, through your personal discovery of the world (regardless of what has already been discovered by men), you are actually learning how to discover God. When you take the last step onto the summit of a mountain or emerge from a deep canyon into a vast high-country desert – regardless of how many people have been there before – your heart burns with the newness of your new personal discovery. When we share this experience simultaneously with others, it is often even more joyful!

These experiences of discovery are glimpses, foreshadowings, of the adventure that Christ is asking each of us to embark on with Him, into his heart for the rest of all time. He wants to be the adventure and to share the adventure. He is “the Way, the Truth, and the Life.” (JN 14:6)

Next time that our hearts ache for newness and authentic discovery, let us not despair. Let us remember the discovery that we long for is available to us, but we cannot see it so clearly now. The goal for us is to live a life in anticipation of this eternal newness (heaven cannot become boring – it is continual newness!), striving for and seeking increasing clarity of this vision for our short lives on earth.

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