Henry the VIII had six. Elizabeth Taylor had eight. Zsa Zsa Gabor had nine.
But Glynn Wolfe had more. He holds the record for marriages: 29 in all. He married some for days, some for months, and a few for years. He married teenage women and he married women with teenagers. He married country girls and he married city girls.
He exchanged wives like someone trying on a variety of clothes. You’d think somewhere along the way, maybe at #5 or even #14 he would have stopped. But he didn’t. Wolfe said he loved women but would get bored with them and felt a strong drive to find another one.
Henry. Elizabeth. Zsa Zsa. Glynn. It doesn’t take much to realize they were all looking for something. More correctly, they were longing for something. We have longings too.
We have a longing for love. That’s why when you got dumped in a relationship you found yourself getting into another one later.
We have a longing for purpose. That’s why even when you were a kid and did not have to pay bills or worry about working, you still had a dream of who you wanted to be when you grew up. And the reason you were thinking about this is that you already had a desire inside of you for purpose.
We long for meaning too. We want to know the answers to the big “Why?” questions of life. You may have asked them yourself: “Why, if God is good, did he let this happen?” “Why am I here?” “Why is there so much suffering in the world?”
Those questions and these longings are in us because they are placed there by God. The longings aren’t the problem. The problem is we often journey away from God to find answers to our longings.
The Prodigal Son did. Charles Dickens called this the greatest short story ever. The younger son in the story had everything his father had to give him. But even with that he had a longing for something more.
So he asked his dad for his inheritance. In that Middle Eastern first century culture that request was the same as telling your father you wished he were dead. You were supposed to take care of your father in his old age and then, when he did die, you would receive your inheritance.
But the father gave him his inheritance and he went away and spent it all “in reckless living.” We don’t know what that was. Drinking? Gambling? His brother offered that he “devoured the property with prostitutes.” Regardless, he lost it all trying to fulfill his longings.
When the money and the women and the friends were all gone he discovered he had another longing: home. He wanted to go back home to his father, even if it meant he would work as a hired hand.
Jesus told this story because he knew we all have longings for something more. And he knew that “something more” was life with the Father. That is where your “home” and mine is. It is a story about finding your way home to the Father.
As far as we know Glynn Wolfe never found his way back home. Believe it or not, he was a minister and he died alone, suffering panic attacks in the middle of the night in his later life because he was virtually alone all the time. To his dying day he kept a wedding dress in his closet. Just in case.
Your story can end on a different note. Pay attention to your longings. Believe that they will not be satisfied running from God but running towards God. Then turn towards home today.
Question: Identify a time when your “longings” took you far from home…the place you are made to be.