“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.”
Sometimes our life is gets a little wrecked, and we know it.
Maybe we feel stuck, or feel like we settled, or feel like the grass really wasn’t greener on the other side. Maybe we can’t find green grass at all, so we settle for yellowed grass that could look green if you tilt your head and squint one eye and wear sunglasses.
“Oh, it’s ok, I won’t be here for that long.”
“He’s not that bad.”
“But it makes me feel good about myself.”
“That’s just how it is.”
Somewhere along the way, we thought “Well, this is as good as it’s gonna get.”
I think everyone’s felt this way at some point. Maybe they thought it consciously, maybe they didn’t. People go through life trying to attain what they think is important, and along the way we decide what’s attainable and what’s not.
It can be easy to look at what society or magazines or friends say is amazing. Sometimes people get what is supposedly the most elite asset, and it still leaves them empty. We look to all sorts of things to fill us up- a relationship, a job, a life of partying, drugs, cutting, porn, drinking, womanizing, being a workaholic…
God doesn’t promise us “good.” He promises us joy in him. He promises us an inheritance; promises that we are co-heirs with Jesus Christ.
Now if we are children, then we are heirs- heirs of God and co-heirs with Christ.
But do we take it? Do we allow our flesh to die so that the identity God created us to have before the establishment of the earth will break forth? Do we allow the chasm in our hearts to be filled with Christ? Will we stop shoving relationships and jobs and addictions and emotions into a space that only Christ was meant to fill?
There is no wisdom, no insight, no plan that can succeed against the Lord.
You may have never seen this verse in this kind of context, but I think it fits well. Our idea of what will fill us up is never going to succeed because God has created us to be filled up only by him. He is the only thing that can make us truly satisfied.
I spent yesterday at a beach in Southern Spain. All around me people enjoyed the coast- sunbathing, running around, playing soccer and paddleball, making sandcastles. The beach was filled with families, and I felt that the atmosphere was just one of contentment and happiness. There were smiles, laughter, joy and peace.
I thought of this quote, and I thought of the people I’ve met in my life.
There have been orphans, street kids, impoverished elderly, gangsters. Kids who want to go school but can’t afford it, girls whose families have sold them into prostitution, pastors who have risked death for their faith.
But you know what?
Amidst the chaos, they have found the sea.
Their joy in Christ is not circumstantial, it is eternal. They have the sea in their hearts, at the forefront of their lives, because they chose it. The soothing waters of the Most High, the Almighty, the Creator of heaven and earth, the Creator of man, the Father of all of people rushes over them at all times, no matter where they are.
It’s hard for me to see impoverished children of God be uncertain about where next month’s food and rent are coming from, but I rejoice in the fact that their souls live in the sea. What is really hard for me to see is friends who constantly drink or party or spend all their time at work or with a boyfriend who cuts them down. That’s not joy. That’s shoving something in God’s place. That’s mudpies.
There are things in my life I’ve had to let go of. I thought they were good, and maybe they were. But they weren’t great. They weren’t the sea.
I’m leaving the mudpies behind, and I’m not looking back.