We often assume that loneliness and dissatisfaction are symptoms of spiritual failure. But what if they’re signs of healthy faith?
TV preachers like Kenneth Copeland tell us what we often want to hear: “God intends for you to be satisfied in every area of your life.” Christian teacher Joyce Meyer presents a similar formula for Christian living: “God cares about everything about you and everything that concerns you. He wants to be good to you and He will never disappoint you. Give Him all of your heart and put all of your hope and expectation in Him. You can have true contentment and satisfaction in Christ!”
Many people interpret these promises to mean getting what they want. But getting what we want doesn’t deliver what we think it will. Open a search engine and type “It didn’t make me happy” and you’ll find stories of people getting married or divorced, having a family, finding and losing jobs, converting to one religion or another, and gaining and losing weight.
In other words, happiness is a moving target. The stories we hear of miserable lottery winners are about people who bought tickets because they thought winning would make their lives better. Like so many of us, they have discovered a decidedly biblical truth: The places we seek satisfaction often fail to provide it. In fact, they can leave us more miserable.
While most Christians freely embrace the idea that the world doesn’t satisfy, many believe the remedy is to find contentment in a relationship with Christ. As long as we are in relationship with Jesus, he will fill that “God-shaped hole” inside us, and once that hole is filled, we will no longer ache with desire or longing.
The trouble is, while knowing and following Jesus has its priceless rewards and eventually leads to fulfillment, it won’t fully deliver on this …