No Satisfaction

I’m due for a vacation this spring and am planning to visit family in California. I’ve never been there so I’m looking forward to it a great deal. I love vacations – most of the time they’re stay-cations but I love those as much, if not more, than going anywhere. What I hate about vacations is that they are soon over and within a day of going back to work it’s like I never had any time off.

Here’s another thing I love – fresh, hot cheesy pizza from Domino’s. I love pizza – tried them all – but Domino’s is my fav. And the next day, when I eat leftover slices for breakfast or lunch, it’s pretty darn good, too.  But all too soon, the pizza is gone and it’s as if I never had any at all.

When I bought my PT Cruiser, it was used but the dealer had sprayed that ‘new car smell’ throughout the inside. The interior was pristine, the engine purred like a kitten and the paint job shone like a new coin. One day after driving it off the lot and I had already messed up the interior. Three years later and the interior is shabby, the sheen is off the coat and the engine runs – well, sputters along. Where did my new-to-me car go?

If you haven’t guessed what I’m getting at here, it’s that anything that satisfies doesn’t for very long. Anything that makes us happy doesn’t last. Consider addicts of all types – they indulge in their addiction because of the ‘high’ they get but then they come down and the search for the illusive high begins again.

We are never truly satisfied.  We are never truly happy.

Okay, so now maybe you’re thinking sarcastically, “Wow, thanks a lot – that gives me hope for today not to mention the future.” But think about it – really think about it. If, as the created children of God, we are always satisfied, always happy, why would we hope for a future with God? If we were already living in a heaven-on-earth, would we even think about God’s heaven?

When God made us, He created us to be resolutely unsatisfiable with anything or anyone for very long – except, that is, for Himself. He loves us and desires us to love Him in return. As long as we remain on this green Earth, we will always have a measure of unsatisfaction. The bad thing about being unsatisfied is that we’ll try anything and everything to reach the ever-illusive state of pure joy. The good thing is that not only does recognizing we will never be fully satisfied lower our expectations of what we want here in this life, but it also, if we allow it to, drive us toward God.

In God we will find the only true satisfaction available to us while on this side of death. And even when we’re disappointed with life, life with God is fully better than without!

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Stand Still

The other day I asked the question, “What’s a person to do in a world gone mad?” My answer was ‘watch and pray’ (actually, it’s Jesus’ answer). Today I want to add, “Fear not, stand still, and see the salvation of the Lord… (Exodus 14:13).

Stand still and see the salvation of the Lord.

It’s hard to stand still. It’s hard to wait in the best of circumstances – even harder to wait for God to act. It’s hard to wait on God because it means we have to put a measure of trust and a whole lot of faith in Something Unseen to act on our behalf. And that’s a very hard thing for humans – even believers – to do a lot of the time. We like to act, to move, to do something – anything – just not stand still and wait on God.

We like to pray and ask God to work on our behalf and then when we leave the prayer chamber and go back to our lives, we forget that we left that problem with God for Him to act upon and we try to fix it ourselves. And if we can’t fix it we complain bitterly about it to anyone who’ll listen until we hear the Holy Spirit reminding us that we gave that problem to God and He is working on our behalf to solve the problem that has the best outcome for us. However, that outcome may not be what we wanted but what God deems necessary for our continued spiritual growth.

Standing still and waiting on the salvation of the Lord can be (and is) a tough pill to swallow. You can’t crush it to make it more palatable. You can’t swallow any faster. You can’t force the pill to work when you want it to. You simply must stand still and wait. And watch and pray.

“All you who love the Lord, trust the Lord. He is your Helper and your Shield. The Lord remembers us and will bless us.” Psalms 115:11-12

 

Watch and pray

Everyday it seems like the world is getting worse – going absolutely crazy with unstable leaders in charge of nuclear weapons and the lives of billions of people. You watch the news and its easy to get depressed about the murders and assaults and vandalism, etc. You look at your own life and you see betrayal, rejection, confusion, disease, grief and worry.

What’s a person to do? Throw up your hands, go off the grid and head for the hills? Arm yourself to the teeth and join an anarchist militia? Dig a bunker in the ground and hoard supplies until the end comes? Join a religious cloister?

While those choices are viable options, there are the ones God would have us choose. In Mark 13, Jesus addresses these issues – the same ones the disciples faced are the same ones we face – and he tells them to watch and pray for no one knows the hour of destruction. He didn’t say run and hide, but to watch and pray. Be mindful of what is going on around you and pray for your family, neighbors, strangers, criminals and local, state and world leaders.

Countless generations have come and gone and each one has had reason to think the end of the world was near. People who lived in Europe during the bubonic plague years, knew it was the end. During times of great famine or flood or earthquakes or war, it was most definitely the end. Some folks thought the end would come in the year 2000 or in 2012 when the planets aligned. But, surprise! We’re still here.

So I ask again, what’s a person to do in a world gone mad? Realize the world has always been mad. People have always killed each other in innumerable ways; destroyed the environment; betrayed and rejected each other; and on it goes. People will continue doing these things until … ? But in the midst of the madness there are always a core group of people who put forth love, hope and faith to the world. Those people choose to trust God. They choose to have faith in an ever-loving, ever-present God. They choose love – in the face of all that is evil, unholy and destructive – they choose love. And through trust, faith and love, they watch and pray.