What Are We Most Desperate For?


Aristotle was one of the greatest Greek philsophers who is also considered to be one of the most important figures in the founding of Western thought.  While he was a student of Plato, he also became the tutor of the future Macedonian King, Alexander the Great. 

One day, a young man traveled from a distant city to meet with Aristotle in hopes of becoming one of his students.  “What do you want to gain?” Aristotle asked him.  “I am in search of wisdom,” replied the young man.  Aristotle then took him out to the sea where they walked waist deep into the water.  Thne Aristotle pushed the lad under the water and held him down for several minutes.  He struggled to free himself but the older philosopher had the upper hand. 

Finally, he released him and the young man rose to the surface, gasping desperately for air.  When the man recovered, Aristotle asked him, “What did you want most?  What were you most desperate for while I held you under water?” 

“Air,” he replied. 

Aristotle responded, “When your desperation for wisdom is greater than your desperation for air, you will find wisdom.”


Many powerful worship songs were written in the late 1990’s.  Songs that moved the soul, prompted emotional responses, helped us to be more personal in our expressions of worship.  They contained compelling phrases like:

  • “You are the air I breathe”
  • “I need you more, more than yesterday…more than the air I breathe”
  • “God is bigger than the air I breathe”
  • “You are my all in all”

While gatherings embraced these penetrating lyrics, they possibly exaggerated our waning and inconsistent longing for our Savior.  I understand, on this side of heaven, we will always fall short and nothing will be perfect.

But can we be honest enough with the Holy Spirit and ourselves about our idols, preoccupations, distractions, hindrances, etc.?  Do we really long to be in the Presence of the Almighty?  When our alarms summon us out of sleep, do we yearn to drop to our knees and lift up our hands to Lord Jehovah?  During the day, is our pining for a glimpse of our Beloved greater than that of a friend or significant other?  Do we anxiously await God’s Word more than our Facebook notifications or the latest Apple product?  Are we more enamored with His Glory than a brand new shiny black Audi A6?  Does our wonder and awe of His greatness surpass our excitement at manmade creations?  Are we more jubilant in His victories than that of the 2013 Blackhawks Stanley Cup Championship?

This is probably too intense a statement, but perhaps “When our desperation for His Presence is greater than our desperation for air, we will find Christ.”

“You will search for me. And when you search for me with all your heart, you will find me!” (Jeremiah 29:13).


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