|Week 4| Lacking Nothing
I remember very distinctly the earth-shattering epiphany that propelled this study and my pursuit of “New Places”. It began in midsummer of last year, as I sat in my therapist’s office, gripping a little black pillow as my safety blanket.
Although I do not remember the details of our conversation, I recall the premise of my visit was due to many life changes, one being, a short-lived relationship that could be best described as a yo-yo-like experience in light of my many mixed emotions. Thus, to organize my thoughts and re-balance my emotions, I unloaded my fueled feelings in the safety of my sweet counselor's company.
In discussing my distortions of what I believed to be broken promises of God, I came to the truth that, “God promises me one thing: Jesus”. At that moment, these words stung, as they denied the dreams and direction my heart longed to follow.
We are promised eternal life through salvation in Christ.
We are promised blamelessness due to Christ’s payment for our sins.
We are promised the inheritance of heaven, as one of God’s children.
We are promised God’s presence, His peace, and His perfect will.
Yet, my response to the truth of these gospel promises was, “It’s not enough”.
How is He not enough? I thought, battling the emptiness I felt inside my chest. I felt lost and alone, somehow wanting more than what Christ offers me.
Is Jesus enough?
Is He what I desire most?
Is He my greatest good?
I was wrecked by these questions because I could not honestly answer "yes". Amid my pain and in the presence of life’s problems, I had lost my way and my wonder in the sweet gift of the Gospel.
The Bible, again and again, invites us to experience the fullness found in Christ, the goodness in His grace, and the wholeness of His healing. So, why do we feel weary in wanting what He withholds? Why does it at times feel like we are simply empty? Why is it hard to find the faith to praise Him in the process of unseen plans?
To answer these questions, I think we have to explore an even deeper question,
“What do we want most?”
If not Jesus, then what? What is it that we want more than anything in this world? Or what do we feel we could not live without having?
You see, I was suddenly faced with the reality of this simple truth:
Nothing in this life is meant to fill us.
No man or marriage, no friendship or good fortune, not even motherhood is meant to make me whole. It is only Jesus who can sustain us, secure our souls, and love us without fault or failure. When we began to place these things in a position of promise, we will experience the weariness of wanting more.
Friend, I don’t know where your journey has taken you, what mountains you have climbed, what deserts you have survived but I do know one thing:
YOU LACK NOTHING with Christ as your compass.
Psalm 34, says, “Those who seek the Lord lack no good thing.”(v.10) and Psalm 103 reminds us that it is God who satisfies us with good. These passages remind our souls of the truth of God’s sustainment and complete sufficiency for those who take refuge in Him.
We have been told far too long that “good things” are equal to “good feelings” and we have begun to believe the lies that tell us to forget our faith when fear is before us. I believe this journey of life is a grand adventure, one which requires us, at times, to unpack, reorganize, and reestablish the foundation of our faith. What if the challenges of our current course were designed to develop our dependence and deepen our devotion to pursuing new views of God’s power and presence.
I have learned countless lessons through my journey this year. As God has called me to embrace the changes in life's path, He has invited me to fight for my faith despite my fear and relieved, through the darkest of days, His goodness to sustain me and save me from myself.
Oh, how I can now finally sing along to David’s Psalm and say,
“ I will bless the Lord at all times;
his praise shall continually be in my mouth.
My soul makes its boast in the Lord…
I sought the Lord, and he answered me
and delivered me from all my fears….
Oh, taste and see that the Lord is good!
Blessed is the man who takes refuge in him!
Oh, fear the Lord, you his saints,
for those who fear him have no lack!” (v.1-9)
I can say these words, not having been taken out of my wilderness or assured that there are no more deserts that lie ahead of me. For I am certain that my path will continue to be paved with both high mountain tops and low valleys, yet despite what my journey holds, I am confident that He who began a good work in me will be faithful to complete it (Philippians 1:6) For what is wrong in this life will be made right in light of God’s coming glory (Romans 8:18).
I think of Paul’s words of faith in saying, “Yes, and I will rejoice, for I know that through your prayers and the help of the Spirit of Jesus Christ this will turn out for my deliverance, as it is my eager expectation and hope that I will not be at all ashamed, but that with full courage now as always Christ will be honored in my body, whether by life or by death. For to me to live is Christ, and to die is gain.” (1 v.19-21)
Or in Job, where it says, “When Job arose and tore his robe and shaved his head and fell on the ground and worshiped. And he said, “Naked I came from my mother's womb, and naked shall I return. The Lord gave, and the Lord has taken away; blessed be the name of the Lord.” (1v20-21).
These passages have challenged my heart to take hold of the kind of forward faith that is evident in the words of these mighty men. Their responses in the most unplanned and unexplainable moments of life bring me to tears as I evaluate my capacity to continue onward into new places with Jesus.
Notice anything similar in their statements? Although the contexts differ, both Job and Paul respond to their present placement with praise!
This feels impossible at times yet I have come to learn that as I press into the presence of my Father, and release my reluctance to surrender to God’s security, I can begin to say, “ I will rejoice, The Lord gives and the Lord takes away; this will turn out for my deliverance.”
My journey is far from over, yet the new places I have discovered along my way have strengthened my faith and given me a beautiful new view of God's goodness I never imagined possible.
Fellow traveler, Keep the faith, press in and press on towards the newness God is calling you to perceive in your present path. Let us sing praise by anticipation, as we step into the steadfastness of our Savior and sustainer, Jesus Christ.
“... they might declare my praise.” Isaiah 43:21