Satisfaction (You can get some)

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Topics: Living Water

It’s never enough, right?

There never seems to be enough of: money, vacation, summer, love, affirmation, attention, alcohol, tv, food, video games, relationships, happiness, cars, antiques, projects and much, much more.

All these things we search for and sometimes even come to count on for…satisfaction.

As diverse as they may be, they all have something in common – they will never fully satisfy us. And I know that most of us know that on some level, but we continue to seek and jump into these things hoping that “this time” it might work. But you and I also know that most of our dissatisfaction and misery comes from these pursuits and the consequences of seeking satisfaction from things that don’t.

Good news and bad news. Bad news first – these things were never going to, and were never designed to satisfy us, truly satisfy us. Good news – God has provided for, and invites us to experience full, deep, rich, real satisfaction.

Jesus called it “abundant life” in John 10 but long before that, Isaiah described it in his 55th chapter. There are three parts to this abundant living satisfaction:

First, this passage begins with “Come, all you who are thirsty, come to the waters…(1).” This passage is very effective as threading together the connection between physical needs and spiritual needs – but arrives at the point that the first part of satisfaction is an internal and spiritual matter. See, we reverse these. We think if we get enough of the above list (money, love, etc.) then we will be “better” on the inside. This passage as well as others remind us that God wants to meet our needs and nourish our souls first. This is where satisfaction starts. Inside out rather than outside in.

The passage continues, “Why spend money on what is not bread (read as what we need and spiritual nourishment), and your labor on what does not satisfy (2)?” How much money have we spent on vacations, stuff, people and more and still we’re not satisfied?

Then it says, “Listen to me…Give ear and come to me; hear me, that your soul may live (2-3).” The first step in this full and deep satisfaction comes from connecting with God – soul nourishment. This comes from reading or listen to the Bible, prayer, meditating on Scripture. Remember when challenged by Satan, Jesus said, “It takes more than bread to stay alive. It takes a steady stream of words from God’s mouth (the Bible) (Matthew 4:4 MSG).” Satisfaction starts from the inside out – we have to start nourishing our dry and weary souls.

The second part of satisfaction that it is revealed in this passage is about grace. We talk a lot about it but I find that we rarely receive it. “Let the wicked forsake his way and the evil one his/her thoughts. Let him/her turn to the Lord, and he will have mercy on him, and to our God, for he will abundantly pardon (7).” Sometimes we think that God is a grumpy old guy who is very reluctant to forgive. Not true. God is very serious about holiness and sin; but throughout the Bible, like this one, it talks about grace in forgiveness in terms of freely, abundantly and lavishly.

I see church people struggle with this through what is called “works righteousness” – “if I do all this great stuff at church, then God will like/forgive me.” I see many people struggle with guilt from the past thinking, “I am beyond God’s forgiveness.” Both of these and others are misunderstandings of the liberating, healing power of grace. “Let him/her turn to the Lord (read as repenting and turning away from sin) is the way to access this grace. It’s not earned, it’s not out of reach. We have to open our hearts and receive this amazing grace that God wants to freely and lavishly give to us. If we don’t, then satisfaction will always be the next task away; satisfaction will always seem like it’s for others and not for us.

Finally, the third part of this abundant satisfaction is trusting in God’s plan and purpose for our lives. We diminish and cut into our own satisfaction when we insist our plans and purposes for our lives, rather than following God’s. This passage talks about how God’s ways are higher than ours, that his Word always achieves it’s purpose, and how the rain and snow come down from heaven to help the earth flourish (8-11). These verses are to emphasize that satisfaction comes from trusting in, relying on God’s ways and purposes.

Admittedly this is not easy. I am constantly battling with making sure I am on God’s path and not my own. And when I think about it, I usually see that God’s way leads to much more satisfaction than any of my plans or purposes. And God is so good that our lives are a weaving together of His purposes often with the people and things that matter to us.

Are you thirsty today? The kind of thirst that is deep in your soul? That’s good. Are you tired of trying to pursue satisfaction through stuff, people and activity? That’s good too! Because you’re in a perfect place to awaken to God’s invitation to experience the satisfaction He wants to give you. It’s a satisfaction that is purposefully designed for you, it’s full of grace, and will touch you deeply in your heart and soul.

“Come, all you who are thirsty…” and come to where there is enough; enough of something that gives life – the living water of Jesus – a supply that never runs out and is deeply, richly satisfying – more than satisfying than anything we have imagined or experienced.

Amen.

Rev. Christopher B. Wolf

Isaiah 42:7

cbrianwolf@gmail.com

www.christopherbwolf.com

Christopher B. Wolf is pastor of First Reformed Church of Saddle Brook, NJ and is the author of Giving Faith a Second Chance: Restarts, Mulligans and Do-Overs (2007) and With You Every Step of the Way (2011); and the host of Walk With Me, Wednesdays 8 pm on WYFN 94.9 FM-NY and on www.yfnradio.com.

“It is a matter of sharing and bearing the pain and puzzlement of the world so that the crucified love of God in Christ may be brought to bear healingly upon the world at exactly that point.” N.T. Wright

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