Sunday, September 25, 2011

For the Satisfied and Unsatisfied Alike

On this absolutely BEAUTIFUL Sunday evening, from blue skies to green trees to fresh water, there is so much to PTL (praise the Lord) for.  Praise the Lord for feet on which I love to skip and dance and play and frolic!  PTL for alarm clocks, coffee makers, the new Bagel Cafe, OU football, and Pilot G-2 05 pens.  PTL for friends -- friends whom I don't deserve because they're too good to me and love me like Jesus does, even when I'm selfish and inconsiderate and a tearful mess.  PTL for running buddies and finding lost things.  PTL for Kathleen Kelly and Joe Foxx, who never fail to make my heart flutter with joy.

PTL for marriage -- my best friend got engaged last week!  I could not be more excited for her and Stephen.  I'm so lucky to be their friends.

Aren't they the cutest?  They might hate me for that, but it's okay.  I am so lucky to call them both two of my best friends.  They are both so wise and genuine and truly live Gospel-centered lives.  I couldn't be happier for them!  I know the Lord is going to bless them so much, and SO many people are going to see what Christ's sacrificial love looks like through the way Stephen and Megan love each other.  I know He's going to use them to do INCREDIBLE things for the Kingdom, and I'm so lucky to witness it!

The list of PTLs could go on and on -- and it does forever and always.  But ultimately on this pretty day of September, what I want to give so much praise to the Lord for, is that even when I am so honest about my sin and brokenness, He loves me.  Even when my values are completely out-of-whack, and I put my hope and try to find satisfaction in people or ideas or the approval of others, He loves me.

ohhhh satisfaction.

The Rolling Stones were right.  I can't get no-ne of it -- unless I'm looking to find it in the soul source of satisfaction, which is the Lord.  Now I'm not sure they were particularly meaning to point to the truth that no matter where we look for satisfaction in life, we never find it.  But they were pointing to that truth!  (I feel like maybe I should Google the meanings of those lyrics and make sure they weren't referring to sexual satisfaction or something, as that would be somewhat mortifying.  But if so, forgive me because I'm just a sheltered, little munchkin who has lots to learn about the ways of the world...)

Whoa okay, that got a little racy there for a bit!  Nonetheless, the Lord has been teaching me so much recently about the idea that we can't be satisfied in Him until we not only know but believe He is enough and ALLOW Him to satisfy us.

Honestly, it can be rather difficult to let all that we are wait patiently before the Lord, placing our hope completely in Him because that means that we have to relinquish our firm grip on our lives and trust that the Lord has our best interest at heart -- no matter what.  In Matthew 5, Jesus is teaching about the ways of the world.  Over and over again, He says, "The world says this, but I say this..."  Whereas the world tells us that things and people and awards and honors and accolades will satisfy us, Jesus says ...

"I AM ENOUGH not only because of WHO I AM but because of who you are in relation to me."

I think that when we begin to understand the magnitude of the Lord's love for us as His children, we cannot help but realize that He is the real deal.  Despite our sinfulness and brokenness and hard-heartedness, He looks at us and sees His precious children whom He loves SO much that He was willing to die for us -- literally.  No matter how we perceive ourselves, this is how the Lord sees us...

He delights in our beauty.  He knows every detail about our lives, our thoughts, our hearts.  He lives among us.  He rejoices over us.  He calms our fears.  He gives us peace.  He is love.  He is trustworthy.  No one can snatch us out of His hands.   He is patient.  He heals.  He is all-powerful and all-knowing.  He is our Father, who loves us unconditionally, is slow to anger and quick to forgive.  All of creation REVEALS His name and His glory.  He looks at us and sees His precious little munchkins, who are honored and precious to Him.

Most precious baby everrrrr.  
I cannot wait to be a mommyyyy -- can but can't, you know what I'm sayin?!

I digress, but even more than that, He is a man of His word.  I so value an individual's word, and the Lord fulfills His promises -- every time.  Not only that, but His words and actions are one in the same.  And we know this because throughout Jesus' ministry, He spoke of forgiveness and unconditional love and sacrificing one's own desires that the will of His Father might be done.  And then, in His great love for us, Jesus was brutally killed.  It is written that, "Even as we were still sinners, Christ died for us."  He died for the very people who spoke against His name, who spoke against His truth, who denied the validity of His power and truth. 

I'm a huge Friends fan, and there is an episode, in which my good, ole' bestie Phoebe tries to prove that there IS such a thing as a completely selfless good deed.

It's hilarious and without trying to reveals so much about human nature that often times the good things we do are to be known and noticed by others and bring glory to ourselves.  Now I think there can be selfless good deeds at times, but the ultimate selfless good deed was done by the only truly selfless man who ever lived.

And when we begin to understand that JESUS -- perfect, selfless Jesus, died so that we -- selfish, sinful, humans might have life and life abundantly -- I think we will begin to understand why He is the only true source of satisfaction.  We can spend every day searching for love and comfort and peace and hope and grace and truth in all these different avenues, but ultimately there is only one true source for each one of these things -- they all come from Him alone.  And maybe you can look to people or things or approval and be satisfied in them for a little while, but I promise -- I know from personal experience -- eventually all of those things fade and only leave you wanting more.

John 4 tells the story of the woman at the well.  It's one of my favorite stories because it's a reflection of myself.  While I haven't been married five times, nor have I ever even been married for that matter, it's a story of a woman who is looking for life and satisfaction in people who will never fully satisfy.  But Jesus comes to her and speaks to her, knowing every detail about her past and insecurities and faults and failures.  And He offers her living water -- a cup that will overflow forever.  

That's not to say that Jesus offers her a life that will always be easy, but it does mean that in all situations, in every circumstance, when we look to Jesus as for satisfaction, He will never disappoint, for He cannot deny who He is.  And everything else in life, relationships or hobbies or whatever else we find joy in, just cause our cups to overflow that much more!  Praise be to the Lord.

"For the Lord has been good to us, 
and we are filled with JOY!" -Psalm 126:3

Thank you, Jesus, for loving us and accepting us despite our tendency toward selfishness.  Thank you for forgiving us even when we speak your truth with our lips and deny you with our actions.  Thank you for dying on the cross, that we might have the Holy Spirit live inside of us and be connected to the ultimate, true source of joy, love, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, and self-control -- for always and forever.  You're the coolest.  We're so undeserving of your great love for us.

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