I hope no one reading thinks at this point that I’m immune to the problems common to the rest of mankind, because you’d be utterly mistaken. I had a couple friends visit from out of town this past weekend and despite having a great weekend, when they were getting ready to leave I wanted more time. It was like the rest of the weekend didn’t matter. All I cared about was getting more. This is just a small example, but if we’re honest with ourselves we always want more.
“Sheol and Abaddon are never satisfied, and never satisfied are the eyes of man.” — Proverbs 27:20
I’m not saying anyone is unique in this desire, nor am I saying indulging it is in our best interest either. Our hearts are constantly in search of contentment and for us, the most logical thing is to feed it money, power, possessions, pleasure, and the list goes on. You may choose to disagree at this juncture, but what good do all these do us? I have never heard of a person contented in any one of these things, so why should I expect to be?
How can we appreciate light without darkness, warmth without cold or love without bitterness? Likewise, without adversity I don’t know how I could ever fully appreciate God’s goodness to me. It is the times of drought and famine in my life (metaphorically speaking) that make the times of abundance so joyous. Without darkness, how can I know just how bright is God’s light? I cannot.
Unintentionally, this message is very timely for a nation that has been lulled into complacency by an extended period of prosperity. We here in America have had more always available to us and so we have been able to stuff our proverbial faces with all that we see solely occupying ourselves with the pursuit. We’ve never had to step back and examine the state of things until now when more is not as available financially as we have gotten used to it being. Now that we can’t buy more, how else do we satisfy our ravenous desires?
“’Come to me, all who labor and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you, and learn from me, for I am gentle and lowly in heart, and you will find rest for your souls.’” — Matthew 11:28–29
There is one way to satisfy the desires of the heart and that is with the spiritual contentment that can only be supplied by Jesus. Never has greater love been shown than in His life, death and resurrection. However, after resurrection, Jesus (unlike everyone else in history) never died again. If He can save Himself (no small feat) and live indefinitely, don’t you think He can at least save you as well?
“‘I have said these things to you, that in me you may have peace. In the world you will have tribulation. But take heart; I have overcome the world.’” — John 16:33
You see that we were never promised a life without pain and trials, but those do not afflict our heart. While it feels like they do, this world is only temporal and cannot affect the eternal. When we place our full trust in Christ as our Savior and Sustainer, we choose the more for which our hearts are desperately crying out. We choose to feed ourselves with food meant for our heart, a heart which cannot be alive in the first place unless it receives this specific kind of nurturing. In other words, he brings our hearts to life for the first time. However, we still need those cuts and bruises along the way to remind us that we are alive and how good that life is.
I know it is all too easy for me to complain about the times when I am left wanting more of something, but God knows that giving me more would only produce a vicious cycle. Instead, He is pointing me toward Himself, the only thing that can sate the deeper desires of my heart that manifest themselves in my desiring physical things when spiritual are not provided. However, if I settle for the physical, I will only be disappointed in what I have and left in the cold wanting for more. Rather than complaining in our droughts, let’s rejoice that we are not left without at all. While the things we desire are in shorter supply, our God is abundant in His love and graciousness and that is what we really need after all.