Finding that which lasts
Today’s “Our Daily Bread” devotional reminded me of this thought from perhaps the greatest Christian apologist of the 20th Century, “Brother Jack” (C.S. Lewis):
“If we find ourselves with a desire that nothing in this world can satisfy, the most probable explanation is that we were made for another world.”
To expound: if worldly things and pleasures produce only temporary satisfaction for all our desires, are we not bound to an unending cycle of only temporary satisfactions, followed by lasting disappointment and eventual dissolution, as some philosophies and religious traditions suggest? Is our only recourse to suppress and deny all wants and desires or stoically commit to “just doing the best we can” until we reach a state of dissolving our individual selves back into the dirt or some sort of universal but impersonal consciousness or force? Is it truly best to merely “eat drink and be merry, for tomorrow you die”, because, as the young’uns like to put it “YOLO”?
The fact that some satisfactions and happy-making-things not only do endure but actually increase in their power to produce contentment and happiness as (and if) we learn and grow indicates otherwise.
I love my wife, take joy in her being, and find happiness in having her in my life that is greater now than when we first met. My feelings about and “for” her are different, in many ways, than those powerful ones of my lustful youth and adult prime, but they are, in all ways that matter, stronger and greater than they were, then.
Same with my faith, my hope, and my love of God; these good things have grown stronger and greater, with time, and have not faded or diminished, even as my mind and physical being are doing so.
You see, we do have desires that can be satisfied by nothing in this world, but there’s a wonderful caveat to that fact: we’re created with the power and ability to bring into our lives in this world that which can endure and can satisfy as nothing mundane and temporal can.
We can have, with the help of the Holy Spirit of our Creator, these “otherworldly” and eternal things, things that are the foundations of all good things that bring lasting happiness and eternal joy: we may have faith, hope, and Love. The greatest of these three things is “Agape” Love; it’s eternally perseverant, and the foundation of everything that’s everlastingly good (see 1 Corinthians 13).
And this Love has another name: “I AM” (“Yahweh”, which also may be used to say or write “He is”, “He will be” or “I will be” (Exodus 3:12-15; 1 John 4:8).
It’s this built-in desire for an intimate and lasting relationship with Him, a desire that accepts no "earthly" substitutes, that Lewis was talking about. Until that relationship that we’re “made for” for is established, each and every one of us who’s not insensate to our own innermost feelings will experience something lacking or missing in ourselves and our lives.
And, many of us, at one time or another, will try to fill that “hole” in our insides with other things, but that never works for long, leaving us restless, irritable and discontent.
Sometimes we become addicted to not-quite-satisfying people, places, things or substances, trying, again and again, and failing, again and again, to recapture a good feeling we’d once experienced, even after it no longer feels very good and produces much that’s not-good in ourselves and in our relationships.
However, the Love of God, expressed thru His grace-filled incarnation as Jesus/Joshua (the same name in Greek/Hebrew, meaning “God Saves”, “God Will Save”, “God Is Salvation”), has come into this world and is our connection to eternity as living, loving, satisfied beings.
Even if you’ve spent your earthly lifetime searching but not finding satisfaction in temporal things, He is ready to provide permanent peace and satisfaction. Indeed, He is its only source... may you find Him, now, while you may.
As Bro. Jack also noted, “Christianity asserts that every individual human being is going to live forever, and this must be either true or false. Now there are a good many things which would not be worth bothering about if I were going to live only seventy years, but which I had better bother about very seriously if I am going to live forever.”
Bother about Faith… bother about Hope…
And, please, please, PLEASE… bother very much about LOVE, who is “I AM”, and went to a great deal of bother about you and for you.
YOLO? Yes, and forever; do it with Love, who is God.
And don’t let anything else bother you, just for today; God bless.