You Feel That Longing For A Reason

by Kevin Burton

   In the title track from her 1994 album “Longing In Their Hearts” Bonnie Raitt speaks eloquently about spiritual blindness.

   Really, Bonnie Raitt?


   That’s why we have called a special assembly here at the Earthly School for the Spiritually Blind to discuss the song and hear it twice, once in the physical once in the spiritual.  

   By now you know we started this virtual school because spiritual blindness is a much bigger problem than the physical blindness I have. 

   Longing In Their Hearts is the story of a short order cook and his wife, living in a “small house under a big sky,” doing the best they can with what they know. 

   The wife likes running the family restaurant and the husband likes being a cook. They are “mighty glad” they can do well and make a living. They see things eye to eye.

   But there is a longing they both feel and can’t explain. 

   In the first verse Raitt tells us the cook is “Long on speed and he’s short on spice.
He reads his customers like a book.”
   “He’s seen this, and he’s done that and now he’s makin’ fried eggs an art.
But there’s one thing he can’t fix no how. There’s a longing in his heart.”

   And in the chorus, Raitt sings, “Well even the stars at night agree that he sky is fallin’ apart.  And she knows ’cause she can feel it too. There is a longing in her heart.”

   In the bridge Raitt confirms that all of us, not just this cook and his wife, feel that longing, saying, “There’s a longing deep inside our hearts, and no one to tell us why.”

   This is a tremendous word picture, capturing the condition of mankind, apart from the knowledge of God.

   No one to tell us why? That’s spiritual blindness. 

   The song points straight to the Old Testament book of Ecclesiastes. We get the explanation from

   “Ecclesiastes 3:11 states God has ‘set eternity in the human heart.’ In every human soul is a God-given awareness that there is something more than this transient world. And with that awareness of eternity comes a hope that we can one day find a fulfillment not afforded by the vanity in this world,” the website reads.

   “‘In the human heart’ is an expression representing the mind, soul, or spirit of each person. God places eternity (Hebrew olam) into our heart and soul.”
   “The word translated “eternity”…refers to God’s placing an eternal longing or sense of eternity in the human heart. Ecclesiastes 3:11 affirms the idea that humans…have a sense of eternity in our lives; we possess an innate knowledge that there is something more to life than what we can see and experience in the here and now,” the website reads.
   “Life is but a vapor (James 4:14), but we know there is something past this life. We have a divinely-implanted awareness that the soul lives forever. This world is not our home.”

   As for stars agreeing at night that the sky is falling apart, Paul speaks to that in Romans 8.

   “For I consider that the sufferings of this present time are not worthy to be compared with the glory which shall be revealed in us. For the earnest expectation of the creation eagerly waits for the revealing of the sons of God. For the creation was subjected to futility, not willingly, but because of Him who subjected it in hope; because the creation itself also will be delivered from the bondage of corruption into the glorious liberty of the children of God.”

   “For we know that the whole creation groans and labors with birth pangs together until now. Not only that, but we also who have the firstfruits of the Spirit, even we ourselves groan within ourselves, eagerly waiting for the adoption, the redemption of our body. For we were saved in this hope,” (Romans 8: 18-24 (NASB).

   Living under the condition of spiritual blindness you can’t understand this, as Raitt says later in the song:

   “Our friends ain’t looking for anything new you know they wouldn’t know where to look.  Well, her, she likes runnin’ that joint
and he likes bein’ a cook. Together they’re doin’ very well you know they’re mighty glad they could.”

   “But there’s a fire burnin’ towards them now. Comin’ from a distant wood.”

   Friends, this is not a tune from Christian radio. But the picture it paints of spiritual blindness couldn’t be clearer. 

   That fire is burning toward every one of us. I pray you seek salvation through Jesus and that spiritual vision and clarity before it’s too late.

   Class Notes, assembly Longing In Their Hearts: An award-winning secular artist, Bonnie Raitt, has accurately diagnosed the condition of a thinking human being, apart from the knowledge of God. The questions she raises are answered in the Bible.

    One for the spiritual road: When the TV (finally) is turned off, God is still speaking to you. Are you listening?

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