the very thing i seek


The Very Thing I Seek

If you have ever seen Easter: Stories & Songs, you know Adam by his long beard and mastery of a seeming endless number of instruments. What you may not know, however, is the depth of his thought or his unique way with words. I have known Adam for over twenty years now. I have been inspired by his songwriting, challenged by his musicianship, and blessed by his friendship.

I remember a conversation I had with Adam years ago in which he said, “Most of my lyrics are not about God, strictly-speaking. But everything I write is haunted by God.” In other words, you may not hear God mentioned by name in his songs, but He is undoubtedly there. I love that description, the sense that God is hovering–unseen but undoubtedly felt–right behind every word. He is moving in the midst of each line, imperceptibly but unmistakably.

That is a wonderful way to think of not only song lyrics but also of life.

Like Adam, other deep thinkers have said similar things. N.T. Wright speaks of signposts: things innate in all humans–things like our ability to appreciate beauty, our sense of justice, our longing for worth, our capacity for love–that suggest there is more to life than what appears on the surface. Our world is haunted; it is enchanted by its loving Creator. And so are we.

Once identified, we find that signposts pointing us toward God are everywhere within us and around us.

Why is it we spot the bright designs of purple and pink and orange as the sun sets and immediately recognize it as beautiful? Why is it we hear birds chirping and can identify not only individual notes but also a melodic pattern? What is this nagging sense in me that life has a purpose, that the work of my hands matters, that the love I feel for others is not sentimental but redemptive?

Bono famously sang that he still hasn’t found what he is looking for. I believe that song resonates so deeply world-wide because it is true of all of us. Like a magnetic pull inside of us, we are drawn toward something we don’t at first know. The Apostle Paul spoke of God to the brilliant minds of the Areopagus during his time in Athens this way: “From one man he made all the nations, that they should inhabit the whole earth; and he marked out their appointed times in history and the boundaries of their lands. God did this so that they would seek him and perhaps reach out for him and find him, though he is not far from any one of us. ‘For in him we live and move and have our being.’ (Acts 17:26-28a)

You can almost hear Bono’s refrain arising from the smartest minds of Athens, “I still haven’t found what I’m looking for.” Paul’s response is to speak directly to that longing in us. Each person is on a reaching-out quest, he says. There is a seeking in us, an innate longing for purpose, beauty, love, justice…ultimately for God. The good news, if we can believe it, is that God is not hard to find. He is within and around us at all times. “In Him we live and move and have our being.” He is right here in our midst. According to Paul, our world–like Adam’s lyrics–is haunted by God.

That is what this song is about. In it, God is nowhere mentioned. But He is everywhere present.


All I’ve ever known is life
lived in skin and bone and strife
Yet, I’ve strangely held belief that
it’s all worth the fight

Like every breath I breathe in deep
has an air of mystery
Like every time my heart, it beats
it knows the reason why

I have this feeling
that somewhere within me
there is the very thing I seek

There’s this thing I’m wondering
every time I’m wandering
why is it I recognize the
bird’s caroling

And every sunset painted sky
with colors I cannot describe
reminds my eyes it’s beauty
that they were designed to see

I have this feeling
that all around me
there is the very thing I seek

When the storms around me still
the air the mystery has filled
comforts like a voice that tells me
“I know the reason why

See the dust and dirt and strife,
all the stuff of earth and life,
echo the divine refrain
and your soul knows the melody”

They echo the divine refrain
and your soul knows the melody



Words & Music: Bill Wolf
Cello: Brandon Givens
Violin, Bass, Drums: Thomas Smith
Produced: Thomas Smith