Clara Anderson, a gentle, conscientious woman, worked as a maid in San Francisco. One day, after serving the same employer for 15 years, she disappeared.
Her employer had no idea where she'd gone. She just dropped out. Then, after days of searching, she was found. She was in the process of starving herself to death in a mountain hideout.
She told social service workers, “I want to die. Leave me alone.” When a local reporter interviewed her, she said, “Look, nobody cares about me. I'm just a maid, just one of thousands in society doing menial tasks. My life is of no value. I have no close family, no relatives, no friends. I'm so lonely that I don't want to live.” Something was missing in Clara's life. She had an aching void within, and life brought little satisfaction.
This lack of satisfaction manifests itself in a variety of ways. For millions like Clara, life is little more than loneliness. Recently, a sociologist it the University of Massachusetts conducted a survey of a cross-section of Americans. Based on his results, the researcher estimated that as many as a quarter of the population feel extremely lonely at some time during any given month.
For others the lack of satisfaction reveals itself in workaholism. These highly driven, “type A” personalities attempt to fill their emptiness through their work. The problem of workaholism is growing in all advanced economies.
Leisure time the average citizen enjoys has shrunk 37 per cent over the past 25 years. And more than 40 per cent of workers put in more than 40 hours per week; 27 per cent grind out more than 50 hours per week, and 13 per cent are trapped in jobs that demand more than 60. What's more, nearly 20 per cent have second jobs.
We're workaholics! Why? We substitute our jobs for relationships. We try to satisfy our longings through the fulfillment that work provides.
Sometimes the lack of satisfaction manifests itself as depression. The purchase of antidepressants is a multimillion- dollar business, ProzacTM, ZoloftTM and PaxilTM are the antidepressants of choice for a generation seeking satisfaction in chemical solutions.
However, while medication has a valid place in the treatment of mental and emotional health problems, only Christ can fill the void in our lives. In Him we find a sense of completeness. He satisfies our longings for security, assurance and self-worth. So what is it about Jesus that meets the needs of our soul? How does He satisfy our heart's longings?
Tips to finding satisfaction
Here are four specific ways Jesus satisfies our longings:
1. Jesus gives us a sense of “specialness.”
He created us. He made us. We're not a random combination of chemicals or a genetic accident. A loving God created us. This Creator God spoke through the prophet Isaiah in endearing words and said, “You are precious and honoured in my sight, and ... I love you... . I am the Lord, your Holy One, Israel's Creator, your King” (Isaiah 43:4, 15).
Because God values us so much, Isaiah wrote, “This is what the Lord says—he who created you ...‘Fear not'” (Isaiah 43:1, 2).
Our Creator cares. He loves us. He takes away our fears. The Creator of the universe fashioned us. We're on His mind and in His heart.
Deep, lasting satisfaction comes from knowing the Creator of the universe loves us with an incredible love. We matter to Him. We're valuable in His sight. There's nothing more important to Him than our love.
2. Jesus has a plan for our lives.
God not only created us but He is planning the best for us. The prophet Jeremiah recorded God's promise, “I know the plans I have for you ... plans to prosper you and not to harm you. Plans to give you a hope and a future” (29:11).
In spite of life's ups and downs, God has a master plan. In spite of life's disappointments and sorrows, God is working all things out for our good (see Romans 8:28).
Knowing God is in control makes all the difference. It gives us satisfaction in the face of incredibly difficult circumstances. Each giant of faith in Bible times had a conviction that God was in control of their life. When Joseph's jealous brothers cast him into the pit, he believed God was still in control. When Daniel's colleagues betrayed him and threw him into a den of lions, he clung to His belief that God was still in charge. Abraham, Isaac, Jacob, Moses, Peter, Paul and all the other biblical heroes looked beyond their adverse circumstances to an all-powerful God. This gave them enduring satisfaction.
3. Jesus' grace exceeds all our failures.
In Christ there is forgiveness. In Christ there is freedom from guilt. In Christ there is mercy and pardon. He delights “to show mercy. You will again have compassion on us; you will tread our sins underfoot and hurl all our iniquities into the depths of the sea” (Micah 7:18, 19).
Jesus told a woman caught in the act of adultery that He didn't condemn her (see John 8:11). What an amazing God! And He told Nicodemus, “God did not send his Son into the world to condemn the world, but to save the world through him” (John 3:17). Similarly, the apostle Paul wrote, “There is now no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus” (Romans 8:1).
There is no greater satisfaction than knowing Christ doesn't condemn us— instead, He freely forgives us. He not only created us, He paid the ultimate price to redeem us. He thinks so much of us that He paid the penalty for our rebellion, giving His life on Calvary's cross. Jesus—Creator of the universe— took the risk of being forever banished from His Father rather than have us miss out on heaven.
Our loving Redeemer took all our guilt upon Himself. In return, He offers us all His righteousness. In place of eternal death, He offers us eternal life. What greater satisfaction could we have than knowing eternal life is ours through Jesus Christ?
4. Jesus promises that one day He will return and bring a complete end to sin.
Sickness, suffering and sorrow will be no more. Disease, disaster and death will be over. Worry, want and war will be forever banished.
God “will wipe every tear from their eyes. There will be no more death or mourning or crying or pain, for the old order of things has passed away” (Revelation 21:4).
We were made for something much better than what this world has to offer. We were created for a greater and nobler purpose—to live with Jesus through all eternity. In Him our heart's longings will be forever filled. In Him our soul's desires will be eternally satisfied.
In Him we are complete. Now that's something to sing about!