I put the twins in one of their cribs the other day with half a dozen of their favorite toys so I could clean their room quickly. A few minutes later Ruby let out a loud screech and stood up with her arms in the air begging to be pulled out of the crib. Assuming Roman had stolen one of her toys again, I chuckled and walked over to see what all the fuss was about. Roman hadn’t stolen one of her toys, but he had ripped off his diaper and claimed the little “surprise” on the inside as his favorite toy. Ruby wanted absolutely nothing to do with Roman’s new little “treasure.”
After I cleaned up Roman and the crib, I started chuckling to myself. I put their favorite toys in the crib and Roman wasn’t satisfied. He was more content with the little “treasure” inside of his diaper than the light-up musical toys surrounding him. But my little man also taught me a lesson that day.
God has offered us Himself, the fullness of joy, and yet we find ourselves chasing after other pleasures that do not and cannot satisfy. Perhaps they can provide momentary satisfaction, but complete fulfillment will never come from this world. How do I know this?
The Bible has endless scriptures promising satisfaction in Christ:
“You make known to me the path of life; in your presence there is fullness of joy; at your right hand are pleasures forevermore” (Psalm 16:11).
“But whoever drinks of the water that I will give him will never be thirsty again. The water that I will give him will become in him a spring of water welling up to eternal life” (John 4:14).
C.S. Lewis puts it so well: “Indeed if we consider the unblemishing promises of reward and the staggering nature of the rewards promised in the Gospels, it would seem that our Lord finds our desires not too strong, but too weak. We are half-hearted creatures, fooling about with drink and sex and ambition when infinite joy is offered us, like an ignorant child who wants to go on making mud pies in a slum because he cannot imagine what is meant by the offer of a holiday at the sea. We are far too easily pleased.”
Christ has offered us Himself, and has clearly spelled out all of the promises for us in Scripture, and yet we continue to choose the very things that will leave us hollow, empty, and dry. C.S. Lewis says we do this because our desires our not too strong, but rather too weak. What a sobering thought. I’ve seen this to be true in my own life. It can be compared to chasing the wind; placing all of our hope in this one thing and expecting it to fill all of the cracks and crevices in our heart. And yet we’re left with a sense of emptiness, realizing that this one thing wasn’t created to do the thing we were so desperately trying to make it do. Like trying to stuff a star-shaped object into the circle-shape sorter; no matter how many times Roman and Ruby try, it’s not going through. It wasn’t designed to.
Our hearts were uniquely crafted to be completely satisfied in Christ alone. And yet we so easily turn God’s good gifts into idols because we expect them to fulfill a role in our lives for which they were never created. Jobs, family, friends, spouse, children- all good gifts – but if we rely on these gifts to fill our hearts completely we’ll be disappointed. We must always go to the source of the goodness, Christ himself, in order to find the ultimate satisfaction are hearts so desperately desire
“If I could find the perfect spouse I would be happy.”
“If I could have the perfect marriage I would be happy.”
“If I could get pregnant I would be happy.”
“If I could get that promotion at work I would be happy.”
“If I could look like him/her I would be happy.”
I’m convinced that these statements may be true for some, at least temporarily true. Perhaps if you found the perfect spouse and you got the job promotion at work you were pinning for you would be content for a little while. But then time would pass and that empty-pit- feeling in your stomach would consume you again. And maybe this time you would stop chasing after the wind: fame, attention, sex, drugs, food, ______________ (fill in the blank), to infuse that space inside your heart, and instead turn to Christ. Are you tired of playing with mud pies? Are you ready to experience all the fullness and joy, “a holiday at sea,” that is yours for you in Christ?
I have tasted the things of this world and none compare to the fullness that comes with knowing, truly knowing Christ Jesus. You can climb the corporate ladder, have a really nice house, car, friends, clothes, etc and completely miss it. You could sail through this life and completely bypass the “holiday at sea” that God has in store for you. Or like Ruby, you can reach up with both arms completely confident in the One who is capable of pulling you out of the mud pie and into the fullness of His joy.