A unique sound heard around the world evokes a longing God has placed in our hearts.
A particularly evocative sound can be heard in widely varied places around the world. I often start and smile when first I hear it. From Auckland to Aqaba, from Long Beach to Lima, from Mombasa to Mumbai, from Zurich to Zanzibar, the sound stimulates in me a reflex to go.
It is the cry of the genus Larus, the mewing of seagulls.
Where people speak Arabic, Cantonese, French, Kiswahili, Portuguese, Tagalog and Twi, the call of the mew is the same. I first remember the cry as a child on the shores of Lake Michigan, where it seemed domestic. But then I heard it at Niagara Falls and Bangkok and Loch Lomond and Le Havre. The more I traveled, the more the sound became associated with exotic memories.
Now the mewing of gulls projects on my mind a montage of all the other places I’ve heard such calls. And wistfully, I want to see them again. My heart wants to go.
A longing in our hearts
And each time, I’m reminded of a longing we humans all have. “I have seen the God-given task with which the sons of men are to be occupied. He has made everything beautiful in its time. Also He has put eternity in their hearts, except that no one can find out the work that God does from beginning to end” (Ecclesiastes 3:10-11).
He has put eternity in their hearts. We don’t want our lives to end. We want to live, in health and strength.
But no one can find out the work that God does from beginning to end. We want to understand eternity, what exactly is playing out. We want to comprehend the whole plan for, and all the details of, our lives. Why is this happening, why that? I’m thankful for the good I enjoy, but why must I go through these other, sometimes painful, experiences? Why the toil and the frustration and the confusion of life?
No one can fathom the entirety of God’s plan, only the sweeping overview He reveals to us. There are still many blank spaces on that map.
A plan to lead us to eternal life
But God has put eternity in our hearts, a call to carry on, to see what lies over the horizon. Our Father shows us in His Word that He is only good, and He has established a plan to lead us to eternal life; eternity is attainable.
And we will finally understand all the work that God has done: “Then I shall know just as I also am known” (1 Corinthians 13:12).
The deep longing for something more, to go somewhere better, that we all feel when we focus, that’s eternity calling.
We must listen and say yes!