“That new job will complete my life. If I just had a little more money, all would be well. If I can get out of this old, stale relationship and find love, then I will truly be fulfilled.” Do these statements sound familiar? It’s very common for people to assess their own lives and come to the conclusion that if only they had that one thing that was missing or that thing that is off in the distant future then everything would be better, life would be how we imagined that it should be, and all would be well. Right?
Obviously, my answer is no. However, why is that the case? I know what some people may be thinking… “Don’t give me one of those ‘churchy’ answers.” Fine, then just look around at the people in the world who do have all of those wonderful things that we average joes dream about. Look at celebrities and business moguls; they have it all, right? Fame, money, achievement, these are the people who have made it to the top. They must be completely fulfilled and happy with their lives!
Except for one problem… The reality is that even those who have “made it” struggle like the rest of us. How often do you turn on the news and rich and famous couples are getting divorced (again)? The front page of the newspaper reports that another celebrity has committed suicide. Drug and alcohol abuse runs rampant among the most prestigious people as they try to numb themselves from the world. Do any of these names ring a bell? Whitney Houston, Heath Ledger, John Belushi, Janis Joplin, River Phoenix, Jimi Hendrix, Elvis Presley – Sounds like the who’s who of America royalty. Yet, this is only a short list of the rich and famous that died from drug overdose.
“I won the lottery, if I had all that money and fame, I’d do better.” Really? Do me a favor and google the phrase “what happens to people who win the lottery?” I did. You know what I found? These headlines, “How Winning the Lottery Makes You Miserable”, “Here’s Why Lottery Winners Go Broke”, and “Jackpot Winners Who Met Tragic Ends.” Apparently, having money isn’t everything. Jack Whittaker won $315 million in a West Virginia lottery in 2002 and after his life was spiraling out of control, Jack said, “I wish that we had torn that ticket up.”
The “churchy” answer helps us make sense of all this mess. According to the Bible, we are made to worship God. “Let everything that has breath praise the Lord!” (Psalm 150:6) If we don’t worship God we will find something else to worship. The Apostle Paul makes this clear when he writes that people have, “exchanged the truth about God for a lie and worshiped and served the creature rather than the Creator.” (Romans 1:25) What’s the problem with that? Worshiping false gods will never satisfy. False gods always let us down.
The sentiments of longing in the beginning of this article are common, yes, but ultimately we cannot build our lives around them. We cannot use all of our time and energy worshiping those ideas. Our desire for affection, fulfillment, and life are right and good, however, they can only truly be found and pursued in Christ. This is what we were made for!
I’ll end with these words from C.H. Spurgeon from 1880.
“And now [Christs sacrifice] also satisfies my affections. And it will satisfy yours, dear friend, if you trust to it. You need somebody to love—everybody does. You cannot go through the world simply living inside your own ribs. You must live in somebody’s heart and if you give your heart altogether to any human being, you will be disappointed. But, oh, when you love Christ with all your heart—when you live wholly for Him, then you have something that fills your heart right up! Here your love can rest! It can roost and build its nest in the wounds of Jesus! There is nothing that can fill the affections of any one of us like the dear person of our suffering Lord.
And I am sure that He also satisfies all our hopes. Large as they may be, there is enough in Christ to fully gratify them. And as for our fears, He fills them up so that we seem to have nothing to fear! ‘If God is for us,’ in Christ, ‘who can be against us?’ If Christ has died for us, who is he that condemns us? And what is there that can now separate us from the love of God which is in Christ Jesus our Lord? Oh, if you would all but try this blessed plan of believing in Jesus as the Lamb of God slain for your sin—if you would but eat the fat of this great sacrifice—you, also, would prove the truth of the first sentence of our text, ‘For I will satisfy the weary soul, and every languishing soul I will replenish.’ In that way you would have all you could take in, and a great deal more than all you need!”
By Pastor Nick Jones
Maranatha Baptist Church
1320 E. Saguaro Dr. Globe, AZ