On the Hunt

She poured the contents of the brownie mix into the bowl. As she stirred the ingredients, she could imagine the joy she would feel as she ate her favorite dessert. Oh. It looked so good. And the scent wafting from the oven was heavenly. She dreamt of that first bite. Her teeth would sink into the soft brownie and her taste buds would erupt with satisfaction. She had made sure to use a smaller pan so the brownies would be thick. It didn’t matter that a smaller pan made fewer brownies. What mattered was the satisfaction they brought when savoring each bite. So for the moment, thin brownies in a larger pan were no longer in vogue in her kitchen. And she was hoping the rest of the household would turn their backs on this batch of brownies. If only. Her name was written all over them.

So she ate the brownies. Oh. She’s never one to cut a dessert into small pieces. Big pieces are magical. In her mind. Small pieces require more to be eaten. And if she could say she only had two brownies, who cares if that really meant she ate the entire row. Who’s counting anyway? And does it really matter? If she’s happy, then life is good. At least, that’s what she tells herself.

Once the plate of brownies has been eaten, then what’s next? Another batch? Will happiness remain if she continues to eat brownie after brownie? Is that what brings true fulfillment? Is that what life is all about? Brownie happiness? Or is it really gluttony?

Perhaps for you it isn’t an endless supply of brownies that satisfies. It could be swiping the credit card for new purchases. Whether the item is needed or not, just the zip of the card brings a flutter of happiness in that moment in time. Perhaps it’s the scratching of the penny on the lottery ticket. Scratch after scratch. How many lottery tickets are enough? Or it could be the downing of that drink each night. Glass after glass of the intoxicating liquid soothes the worries of the day. But does it? Tomorrow will come fresh with a splitting headache. Then where is the happiness from last night? Oh. It could be the viewing of those pornographic movies or erotic photos that stir some deep longing within. But is it truly satisfying? When does lust ever end for you?

It seems that the search for happiness is never quite fulfilled. Just one more brownie. One more drink. One more lottery ticket. One more exotic vacation. One more pair of shoes. But happiness is so fleeting. One day we’re happy. The next day we’re searching again. Does it ever end?

Sometimes too much of a good thing is just that. Too much. And too much of a bad thing is just that. It’s bad.

This past Thursday, we stuffed ourselves with a turkey feast and called ourselves thankful. Now we rush onto our Christmas shopping in order to make others happy. No longer do we differentiate between need and want. We just want our loved ones to be happy. So we buy their happiness in the name of Christ’s birth. Somehow it doesn’t translate. We’ve gotten our priorities so misplaced that we don’t know how to search for the true meaning of life. Yet we call ourselves blessed.


Yet God has made everything beautiful for its own time. He has planted eternity in the human heart, but even so, people cannot see the whole scope of God’s work from beginning to end. Ecclesiastes 3:11


God has planted eternity in each of our hearts, and we’re all searching for it. Oh. The Thanksgiving feast was a momentary pleasure. The Christmas indulgence will soon be forgotten. We’re searching for something far more eternal than what money can buy. We just don’t recognize it. We’re looking in all the wrong places. We’re wasting our time and we won’t admit it. We become quickly dissatisfied with the things we thought would make us happy. But we find out that those things, too, are meaningless.

And yet. God has made everything beautiful for its own time. There is a time for beauty. And joy. And fulfillment. There is a time where our deepest longings will be satisfied.

We don’t realize that what we’re really looking for has always been right in front of us. Oh. Sometimes it’s veiled. At times, it’s misrepresented. And at other times, it’s simply ignored. In our searching for fulfillment, we must search deep within. We must realize that our longings don’t come about because of boredom or abuse. They come because we’re made for fellowship with our heavenly Father. And those longings can be so deeply satisfied if we allow ourselves to fall in love with our Creator. The Maker of our souls.

These longings that will never be satisfied this side of heaven can lead us down a dreadful path. We search in all the wrong places. And leave less fulfilled than when we started. It sometimes seems a never ending search. But it doesn’t have to be that way. We can find fulfillment in God alone. But we must be willing to pay the price of giving up first place in our lives to everything else. Only then will we be content.

If we find ourselves with a desire that nothing in this world can satisfy, the most probable explanation is that we were made for another world.

C.S. Lewis

Satisfaction Guaranteed

Sometimes I feel unfulfilled. I think I need something new and exciting in my life.  I feel like something is missing, and I search for that missing piece. So when that happens, I go on a hunt. I try to find something to fill that void. So I take a walk through my house to see what can make me happy. But is happiness what I’m looking for?

As I walk through each room of my house, I check to see what I can change that might make me feel fulfilled. Something that might change my mood. Something that will give me a sense of satisfaction. Something that will refresh my spirit.

I look at the kitchen. Do I need to rearrange the items on the open shelves? Would colorful dishes look better than all white plates? Would a new plant look nice on the island? Are the cupboards filled with enough food? And if I look in the freezer, I’ll find the new stash of chocolate I just bought. Can’t run out of that. And when I bite into a piece of the chocolate, do I stop to ask myself how happy it makes me? Is one piece ever enough?

I look over at the living room. How does it look? I check to see if the decor is starting to look dated. Is the paint color fresh? Do the plants look healthy? Is the rug faded? Maybe I need to redecorate with new pillows. I just bought a beautiful new wall hanging. Maybe that will be enough change for awhile.

I check out the dining room. The runner on the table is several years old. Perhaps a new one is in order. The tray in the center of the table is one of my favorite pieces. But maybe it’s time to freshen up the look.

Then I walk into my closet. And what do I see? A rack of clothes. I wonder how often I wear each item. Then I remember that these are just the clothes for this season. If I walk into another room, I’ll find another closet full of clothes for the next season. And shoes? There are more than I need. That’s for sure. And how many do I wear on a regular basis? That’s a question I don’t even want to answer. Oh. I just bagged up a trashbag full of scarves and sweaters to donate. But I wonder how many more items from the closet I should also donate.

I open the door to the garage, and I examine my car. I know it’s not the latest model. It’s eight years old. It’s not as new as other cars I see. It doesn’t have all the bells and whistles you would find in the latest models. It isn’t a luxury brand. Never mind that it’s paid for. It hasn’t been high maintenance, except for the expensive tires. I’m not embarrassed to be seen in it. Does it impress others when they see me drive up in it? Does it matter?

I walk outside to look at my flowerbeds. I see a lot of shady areas, but there’s also a little space for sun. I wonder if I can find room for a couple more flowerbeds. I envision lots of blooming flowers, but I realize I must be realistic about what will attract deer and what will repel them. I also must be realistic about how much work it will take to keep the flowerbeds looking nice. Can I get enough flowers in the little space I have? Or will it be too much work?

I log onto my bank account. I check the balance of all my accounts. Is the market up today or is it down? Is my money safe? Am I financially secure? Am I prepared for retirement? Can I pay my bills? What will it take to satisfy me? Am I looking for meaning in all the wrong places?


You satisfy me more than the richest feast. I will praise you with songs of joy. Psalms 63:5


Feasts are known to be satisfying. But that satisfaction doesn’t last. It leaves a longing for more. The thing about the feast. It’s not meant to be a last meal, but perhaps a celebration. It is not meant to fulfill every last longing that someone has. It is a moment in time that will last in memories for a lifetime. But it doesn’t bring lasting fulfillment.

Then it dawns on me that I’m looking in the wrong place. Food and clothes and cars and flowers and money are all good things. I don’t need luxury. I don’t need fortunes. I don’t need fame. They don’t provide lasting peace and fulfillment. But what I do have is peace. Peace of mind. I have a calm assurance that all is well with my soul. I have deep abiding peace.

I know that my relationship with God is the most important part of my life. But I sometimes get sidetracked by other things. I realize the the peace I have because of God’s forgiveness is the calming I need in my life. I realize that as I faithfully read and study God’s Word, I have a greater knowledge and wisdom for making life decisions. I don’t need to search for a quick fix to boredom and discontentment, because I am content in the knowledge that I am deeply loved by a God who knows my name. He fights for me. He died for my sins. He is my Savior. The joy of the Lord is my strength.

The world may try to satisfy that longing in your soul. You may search the wide world over but you’ll be just as before. You’ll never find true satisfaction until you’ve found the Lord, for only Jesus can satisfy your soul.

Only Jesus can satisfy your soul. Yes, only He can change your heart and make you whole. He’ll give you peace you never knew, sweet joy and love and heaven, too. For only Jesus can satisfy your soul.

If you could have the fame and fortune, all the wealth you could attain. Yet, you have not Christ within, your living here would be in vain. There’ll come a time when death will find you, riches cannot help you then. So, come to Jesus, only He can satisfy.

Only Jesus can satisfy your soul. Yes, only He can change your heart and make you whole. He’ll give you peace you never knew, sweet joy and love and heaven, too. For only Jesus can satisfy your soul. Yes, only Jesus can satisfy your soul.

Lanny Wolfe

Greener Grass

I see my neighbor two doors down. He’s working in his backyard every day. Sometimes all day, but mostly in the afternoon. He’s been furloughed, so now is the perfect time for him to lay mulch, plant new bushes, clean up the flowerbeds. So he is. I get it. He has the time, and he’s taking advantage of his free hours.

I, on the other hand, am working full time. From home, of course. My employer has taken the opportunity to make sure all their workers are busy. Very busy. They don’t trust that we’re really working while we’re working from home. There’s no extension of grace to lessen the workload. Even when our clients are postponing the work we do for them, the snap of the taskmaster’s whip is always heard.

Oh. I don’t mean to whine or complain. I am truly thankful to have a job. I’m glad I’m working and and getting my full paycheck. But when I look out the kitchen window and see my neighbor, I sigh with jealousy. I, too, want to be outdoors working in my flowerbeds. I want to pull weeds and drag out my tomato cages. I want to trim the lavender plant.

All my time is spent working. All my neighbor’s time is spent wanting to get back to work. Are we either one content? Are we comfortable with our circumstances? Or does the grass look greener on the other side for each of us?


Turn my eyes from worthless things, and give me life through your word. Psalms 119:37


As I think about this, I feel I must berate myself. I have much to be thankful for. I’ve been unemployed three times, so I know the feeling of uncertainty. I know the fears that I’ve lived my best life. I know the concern that perhaps I’ll never find another job. So, why do I fret when I still have a full time job with a decent salary? What else do I want?

But then I wonder. If I wasn’t working. If I had been furloughed from my job, would I actually go outside and work in my flowerbeds? Would I dare to shop for flowers that I long to plant? Or would I just curl up and read a good book? Do I just want what I don’t have because it isn’t mine to have right now?

Is it safe to say that most of us are never content with where we are in life? That we always want what we don’t have? That we dream of those things that are just outside our reach? And when we get there. To that moment we dreamed of. Is it enough? Are we happy then?

Is this a time to be content or to dream of the future?

When faced with slow progress and seemingly endless delays, You enfold me in your patient Heart.
 
Let me recognize your perfect timing in all things, 
the fullness of your providence.
 
May I be so strong in your Spirit 
that all I do is inspired by you.
 
For you are loving, kind, and gentle,
in you are all the blessings.
 
Let me not be deaf to your voice, 
nor suffer the pain of a rebellious soul.
 
Gentle me, O Loving Guide, 
that I may learn the wisdom of purity, patience and peace.

Nan Merrill, Psalms for Praying