"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:
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
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
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
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.”