Be wise; seek God
Psalm 53 opens with a contrast between foolishness and wisdom. Verse 1 addresses foolishness: “Fools say in their hearts, ‘There is no God.’” Verse 2 addresses wisdom: “God looks down from heaven on humankind to see if there are any who are wise, who seek after God.”
According to the psalmist, foolishness is associated with a denial of God and wisdom is associated with seeking God.
St. Augustine and F.F. Bruce offer one reason why it is wise for us to seek God. St. Augustine writes, “You have made us for yourself, O Lord, and our heart is restless until it rests in you.” F.F. Bruce adds, “The soul’s deepest thirst is for God himself, who has made us so that we can never be satisfied without him.” It is wise for us to seek God because closeness with God is what our hearts most deeply long for, leaving us perennially dissatisfied until we find him. This is why Bertrand Russell, who spent his life denying God, shared this confession: “The center of me is always and eternally a terrible pain—a curious wild pain—a searching for something beyond what the world contains.”
The search for God is this world’s best hope for peace. Thomas Merton suggests, “Man is not at peace with his fellow man because he is not at peace with himself. He is not at peace with himself because he is not at peace with God.” Marilyn Monroe’s life gives sad evidence of this truth. Arthur Miller, one of Marilyn’s husbands, shares in his autobiography Time Bends, “One night, as I looked down on her, I couldn’t help thinking to myself, ‘How I wish I still had my faith and she still had hers. What if I could say to her, “Darling, God loves you,” and what if she could believe it?’ I wished so much that some miracle could happen for her. But I had no saving mystery to offer her.” When they lost their faith, they lost their peace.
In his novel Life After God, Douglas Coupland presents further reason why the search for God is life’s deepest wisdom. A young man named Scout and various other characters have numbed themselves with drugs, stupid jobs, and empty sex while searching awkwardly for meaning. But Scout comes to this conclusion: “Now here is my secret: I tell it to you with an openness of heart that I doubt I shall ever achieve again, so I pray that you are in a quiet room as you hear these words. My secret is that I need God—that I am sick and can no longer make it alone. I need God to help me give, because I am no longer capable of giving; to help me be kind as I no longer seem capable of kindness; to help me love, as I seem beyond being able to love.” We need to search seriously for God because it is God who is able to supply us with the resources for life that are otherwise in short supply in us.
Be wise; seek God.