I spent years hearing that God satisfies all my longings. And I believed it. At least I tried to believe it. So … why do I continually feel a nagging discontent in my soul?
Am I really saved? Am I not praying correctly or reading my Bible enough? Do I not have enough faith? What am I doing wrong? What is wrong with me?
Maybe I need to ignore my restlessness. Keep telling myself to be content. After all, He created me, so of course He is the answer to everything.
Somehow I cannot reconcile this truth. And I have really tried.
We see people all around us searching for something to make them happy, to satisfy.
But that’s surely the unbelievers, the ones without a personal relationship with God.
They shop for the latest fads, travel to exotic destinations, read the newest motivational books, listen to the most charismatic speakers.
They collect relationships in the form of friends and followers, immerse themselves in work, take up causes … possibly even join our church!
Surely they aren’t saved. They can’t be believers and still so unsatisfied … can they?
But what if we are they?
What if we begin to recognize some of ourselves in their discontent?
What if it is me, a Bible believing Christian, who is going from one thing to the next, looking for my next high?
Gasp. Say it isn’t so! You mean, us Christ followers are not immune to the trap of seeking our next happiness fix?
Yep. In fact, our Christianity can become another addition to our list. Well-meaning intentions morphing into obsessions to perfection. Until something forces us to reconsider, and we recognize our own searching. We hear that voice, again, telling us God satisfies all our desires … we have that God-sized hole in our lives. So we shift our focus. We reengage in seeking to know our God. We realign our thoughts, adjust our schedules, become more active in our church, add quiet time and prayer to the list of checkboxes in our planners. But the peace we feel comes and goes. Somewhere along the way, ordinary life creeps back in. So we regroup, trying harder to be better at this Christianity thing.
We wonder again … does God really satisfying all our longings? Oh, we don’t dare question out loud. It would surely disqualify us as good Christians. But we continue to wonder, what is wrong with me?
Maybe nothing. Maybe nothing is wrong with me.
Yet God has made everything beautiful for its own time. He has planted eternity in the human heart, but even so, people cannot see the whole scope of God’s work from beginning to end. Ecclesiastes 3:11b (NLT)
What if we are not meant to have our feelings and desires satisfied? What if we are created with an internal discontent? Just maybe, God created us with a deep longing to be face to face with Him. More than we can ever experience on this earth, this side of Heaven. God created us with eternity planted in our hearts (Eccl 3:11), and we will not be truly satisfied until we are literally in His presence.
But what do we do with this restlessness now? Maybe … we let it and change our expectations of what it means to be satisfied.
We stop seeking true satisfaction here in this world.
Even in our here and now relationship with Christ.
Yes, it is true, God does satisfy all our longings. Contentment is not a misunderstanding of the truth, but a misapplication of the truth. We currently live in an imperfect world, where sin abounds, where our existence will never be entirely pure, so we cannot expect to be wholly satisfied until we are removed from the imperfect and placed face to face with The Perfect God. There is more to come.
Contentment is not a misunderstanding of the truth,
but a misapplication of the truth.
Seeking to know Christ and make Him known drives our purpose here on this earth. But expecting contentment here on this earth is misguided. It can result in doubting our own salvation, turning our focus inward, which is exactly where our enemy wants to keep us. Instead, our discontentment can drive us to chase after knowing our Savior Jesus Christ.
Thank The Lord our salvation does not depend on us. We accept it as a free gift from God. Trying harder does not result in being any more saved than we already are the moment we decide to accept His gift. Just as letting our discontent cause us to question our salvation cannot result in us being any less saved. So let’s change our expectations. Let’s allow our discontent, our longing for God’s presence in eternity, to move us in relentlessly seeking Him here and now. And one day, when we wake up in eternity, face to face with our Creator, we will finally understand this pursuit of contentment.