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"I Still Haven't Found What I'm Looking For" by U2

Song Meaning, from a Biblical Perspective:

U2’s “I Still Haven’t Found What I’m Looking For” was the second single from their highly praised album, The Joshua Tree, released in 1987.  The song became one of their most successful hits and earned a place on many “best rock songs of all time” lists over the years. 

Is “I Still Haven't Found” a Christian song?  Does it express a biblical message?  Yes, and here are 4 reasons why:

  1. Universal human restlessness.  The song expresses the common feeling of dissatisfaction and longing for meaning in life, which reflects the biblical wisdom of Ecclesiastes and the Christian hope of a better world to come.

    I have climbed the highest mountains
    I have run through the fields
    Only to be with you
    Only to be with you
    I have run, I have crawled
    I have scaled these city walls
    These city walls
    Only to be with you
    But I still haven’t found what I’m looking for

  2. Unsatisfying worldly pursuits and experiences.  The song describes various attempts to find fulfillment in love, healing, religion, and temptation, but none of them satisfy the deep desire of the heart, which can only be met by God's grace and love.

    I have kissed honey lips
    Felt the healing in her fingertips
    It burned like fire
    This burning desire
    I have spoke with the tongue of angels
    I have held the hand of a devil
    It was warm in the night
    I was cold as a stone for
    But I still haven’t found what I’m looking for

  3. Christian confession and hope.  The song affirms the belief in the Kingdom of God, where all things will be united in harmony, and the work of Christ, who broke the bonds of sin and shame by carrying the cross.  However, the song also acknowledges the tension between the already and the not yet, the present reality and the future glory, which motivates the ongoing search for God, but as one fully convicted with hope thru Jesus.

    [Bono often says he is not satisfied with some of his recorded lyrics, so he tends to rewrite them during live performances.  For example, in the “2005 Live From Milan” version of the song, he changed the original lyrics: “You broke the bonds/And you loosed the chains/Carried the cross of my shame/Oh my shame”  to “You broke the bonds/And you loosed the chains/Carried the cross/Took my shame/You took the blame”.  This subtle change makes the song much deeper and more meaningful.1]

    I believe in the Kingdom Come
    When all the colors will bleed into one
    Bleed into one
    But yes, I’m still running
    You broke the bonds and you loosed the chains
    Carried the cross of my shame
    Of my shame
    You know I believe it
    But I still haven’t found what I’m looking for

  4. Musical influences and style.  The song draws from the gospel music tradition, which is a genre of finding God amidst difficulties, and features a choir and a guitar sound that create a perfect contrast between heaven and earth.

C.S. Lewis once said that if we find within ourselves a desire for which no earthly satisfaction can be found, perhaps this is evidence that we were made for another place altogether.  This unending desire seems to be the running reflection of “I Still Haven’t Found What I’m Looking For.”

Hear the '2005 Live From Milan' version on DOC Radio, as well as music from over 250 contemporary Christian bands and artists on our free live stream at

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