In 1971 rocker Mick Jagger bellowed the familiar lyrics “I Can’t Get No Satisfaction. You’ve got to give him credit; he’s attempting every way possible to find what he’s looking for. “I try, and I try, and I try?ridin’ round the world, and I’m doin’ this and I’m signin’ that”, yet the poor guy can’t seem to find gratification anywhere.
On a similar quest for fulfillment, is a Biblical King named Solomon. Utilizing material possessions, information, creativity, money, and sex, Mick and Solomon strive to find satisfaction. But, they both come up empty!
In Ecclesiastes 1:2 Solomon’s roars “Meaningless! Meaningless! Utterly meaningless! Everything is meaningless!”
Lighten up Sol, this negative attitude isn’t helping?or is it? Could it be that he’s on to something? Could our anxiety be a result of looking for peace in the wrong places? Where does a person find satisfaction in a world that’s so restless?
Psalm 63:5 proclaims: “You, God, satisfy me more than the richest of foods. I will praise you with songs of joy.” But, is that realistic in today’s world? Can God really meet my needs as well as?say?a piece of Ghirardelli chocolate, or a new red convertible?
The Bible places an essential value on satisfaction. Since God formed us, He alone understands our wiring. Therefore, his “owner’s manual” is our best resource for instructions. Here are the insights I’ve found advantageous.
I will be satisfied when:
1. My worth rests in knowing and believing I am the beloved.
“You are precious and honored in my sight, and I love you” Isaiah 43:4 (NIV)
Did you know God’s love is so intense that he has your face tattooed on His hands? I realize that right now some of you are reaching for the smelling salts, but I’m speaking truth. Isaiah 49: 16 (Amplified) says: “I have indelibly imprinted (tattooed a picture of you) on the palm of each of my hands.”
I spent the first 10 years of my Christian life trying to earn God’s love. The attempt was exhausting and no matter how many rungs I climbed, I kept falling off the ladder. The enemy was always faithful to whisper “you aren’t very good at this Christian thing, you’d be wise to give it up.” And I almost did.
Fortunately, I serve a God who relentlessly wooed me with His zealous, unconditional love. My whole world changed when I embraced the truth that I can never do anything to make Him love me more, or less. With this truth flowed a freedom and peace that is beyond human description. The tranquility I so desperately sought came in knowing not who I am, but whose I am. I am the bride of Christ. When I foolishly pursue other identities, I lose my peace. It is in Him alone that I find my contentment and gratification. All satisfaction builds on this foundational fact. “In Him we live, and move and have our being” Acts 17:28 (NIV)
2. The things that matter to God, matter to me.
I grew up believing God was aloof, distant and detached. I assumed he enjoyed being intimidating and was eager to zap me when I failed!! Nothing could be further from the truth. God cares. The compassion of the Almighty is demonstrated by the fact that He counts our tears. “You keep track of all my sorrows. You have collected all my tears in your bottle” Psalm 56:8 (NLT)
When I begin to weep about the things God laments over and they become my driving passion, then my life has purpose. When I have purpose, then I have peace. Do the things that concern God, trouble you? Do you rejoice over the things that delight God?
One of my most memorable times of seeing people from His perspective was while in England, at a Wycliffe Bible translator’s facility. I was looking out the window when numerous children dashed onto the playground for recess. They were about 8 or 9 years old, and of every nationality you can imagine. I had never seen such a diverse group of people before, and the joy that filled my heart while watching them play together, and hugging each other, was overwhelming. It was such a “God moment” that I have a hard time describing it. As I began to cry, God whispered to my heart “I love every one of them, Laura?every single one.” Immediately, my mind was transformed to see people as He sees them, with deep compassion and desire. It took my breath away.
Leading a divorce recovery ministry is another vehicle God has used to teach me tenderness. Grieving with those suffering the trauma and devastation of divorce has given me sensitivity to their wounds and needs. Often, after listening to someone share their sorrow they comment, “I feel so much better just knowing you recognize my pain, the hardest part is that no one seems to understand.” Lifting their burden to God brings fulfillment to my life, and gives meaning to my own experience.
In every life situation God’s goal is to make us like Christ. Jesus was deeply affected and compassionate toward lost, wounded, broken, and abandoned people. I find peace when my heart is undivided, and seeks to live like Christ. My life has contentment and meaning when I am busy doing the work of my Father. “I have glorified You on earth, having accomplished the work which You have given me to do” John 17:4 (NAS)
3. My heart is humble
“O LORD, my heart is not conceited. My eyes do not look down on others. I am not involved in things too big or too difficult for me. Instead, I have kept my soul calm and quiet. My soul is content as a weaned child is content in its mother’s arms.” Psalm 131:1-2 (GW)
“Mirror, mirror on the wall who’s the fairest of them all?” Sound familiar? It’s a common attitude found in America today, even in the church. Ironically, serenity arrives when I get my eyes off of the mirror. The mirror often fuels my hunger for adoration and recognition.
One way to diagnose your sensitivity on this matter is to ask a few questions. Am I obsessed with how and what everyone else is doing? Am I jealous when another gets an impressive promotion, an attractive spouse, (OK?any spouse) or stunning new clothes? Where does my mind automatically drift when I’m not thinking about anything specific? A self-centered attitude defeats contentment, and it keeps us in the downward spiral of discouragement. Humility puts others first and stops the exhausting effort of focusing on ourselves. This tranquility gives the assurance that I don’t need to prove myself to anyone, and my soul is at rest.
“Don’t be selfish; don’t live to make a good impression on others. Be humble, thinking of others as better than yourself.” Philippians 2:3 (NLT)
4. I live more for eternity than this world.
Ecclesiastes says we seek satisfaction “under the sun”, (1:14) and herein lies the problem, we are looking in the wrong place!! Satisfaction is found above the sun. The pleasure of heaven awaits us. It’s where we were created to live?it’s home. But most of us live as though this world is our abode.
A misconception of heaven is often the reason we grip earth. Our image of the wedding feast is shuffling around a monotonous gray church fellowship hall, holding a white styrofoam cup filled with lime green sherbet punch. Our feast, on a white paper plate, consists of a ham roll, a stalk of celery, and for we Italians, a meatball. We are dressed in drab cotton white nightgowns, with huge white sleeves-like a choir robe, and maybe if we are lucky a gold sash (there’s a lot of white in this picture?don’t you think?)
We’ve got it all wrong!! This is going to be an ENORMOUS PARTY. Think along the lines of “My Big Fat Greek Wedding”?a lot of music, and dancing, (oops! I know I’m stepping on toes here) laughter, singing and great non-caloric chocolate cake. Ok, I’m making that part up, but I’m dreaming big!!
Now here comes the best part “And He shall wipe away every tear from their eyes; and there shall no longer be any death; there shall no longer be any mourning, or crying, or pain; the first things have passed away.” Rev 21:4 (NAS) Did you catch that? No more waterproof mascara-ever! No more cancer, guilt, gossip, bad breath, or dreary board meetings, this place is glorious. I’m convinced that an accurate glimpse of heaven will make this life look pitiful.
And that’s why it’s important to spend our time here preparing for eternity. “Teach us to number our days aright, that we may gain a heart of wisdom.” Psalm 90:12 (NIV) A delightful peace floods our lives when we acquire a wise heart, because it has certainty about the future. A wise heart knows their Redeemer lives, and He is waiting to caress them with heavenly pleasures. I don’t know about you, but I can’t wait!
I’m not certain what Mick Jagger is doing these days, but Ecclesiastes 12 explains Solomon’s final evaluation. “The end of the matter is: Fear God (revere and worship Him, knowing that He is) and keep His commandments, for this is the whole of man (the full original purpose of His creation, the object of God’s providence, the root of character, the foundation of all happiness, the adjustment to all inharmonious circumstances and conditions under the sun,) and the whole (duty) for every man.” (v. 13 Amplified)
Although much contentment can be found on earth, I’m fervently anticipating total joy in my celestial residence. A pleasurable calm saturates me when I envision sitting on Jesus’s lap, with my head nestled against his chest. I’m yearning for the moment when He tenderly lifts my chin and looks deep into my soul whispering, “I love you Laura, you are my cherished daughter and I delight in you. Your heart’s desire is to be a good and faithful servant?well done”. Ahhhh?now that’s satisfaction.
“The master was full of praise. ‘Well done, my good and faithful servant. You have been faithful in handling this small amount, so now I will give you many more responsibilities. Let’s celebrate together!'” Matthew 25:21 (NLT)
Read more about Laura at www.laurapetherbridge.com.
Copyright © 2005 by Laura Petherbridge. Used with Permission.
Author, speaker and teacher Laura Petherbridge has encouraged listeners at conferences and retreats for more than a decade. A noted communicator to women, singles, and married couples she laces her presentations with real life insights that are designed to instruct, inspire and entertain.
Her new book, When Your Marriage Dies — Answers To Questions About Separation and Divorce, published by Cook Communications will be available May 2005. This divorce recovery guide, endorsed by Gigi Graham and Dr. Archibald Hart, senior professor of psychology at Fuller Theological Seminary, is written in a straightforward and conversational format that will aid the reader with a variety of issues including: stages of loss, children, finances, dating, lonliness, reconciliation, forgiveness and more.