We were created for worship and fashioned for praise. Tortured genius and brilliant critic of the church, Frederick Nietzsche, believed that human beings are driven by a will to power. We are, Nietzsche said, desperate to have a sense of mastery over the sinister, unseen but real forces which would imprison the human spirit. We crave a sense of control over the chaos that threatens us.
Sigmund Freud claimed that human beings are pushed and pulled by a will to pleasure. To dull the pain and apparent pointlessness of life, we seek release and ecstasy.
Getting closer to what I believe is the truth about us, Alfred Adler and Victor Frankl said that we are motivated by a will to meaning. We are restless to make sense out of life, to know why we are here, and to discover the purpose of it all.
The Christian faith claims that, deeper than the drive for power, the urge for pleasure, and even the quest for meaning, we are carried along by a primal, God-given will to worship. There is, as Blaise Pascal famously said, “a God-shaped void” in us that can only filled by the true and living God.
We have an inner yearning to be taken up into the mystery and mercy of God; we ache to abandon ourselves in adoration of the Holy One. In a moment of brilliant awareness, St. Augustine saw the truth about us, and prayed: “You arouse us to take joy in praising You, for you have made us for yourself, and our hearts are restless until they rest in you.”
The deepest joy in life is found when we give the greatest glory to God. We find fulfillment and our truest selves when we are “lost in wonder, love, and praise.”