I am pondering satisfaction over here, in the dark and cold dawn.
I love Psalm 145. It contains some of the “10,000 Reasons” for my heart to sing.
“Thou openest Thy hand,
Thou satisfiest the desire of every living thing.” v. 16 (RSV)
“satisfied”…The Hebrew word here means be fulfilled.
My mind is drawn toward God’s faithfulness at a time of perceived lacking. Come with me to the Exodus, as the Israelites are released from slavery and wander in wilderness while God shapes their hearts.
How quickly the Israelites became worried and discontent! (How much like them I am…) How interesting that what was demanded, but LEAST expected, and not really understood, was given to the Israelites to SATISFY them.
Ex. 16:12 “I have heard the grumblings of the sons of Israel; speak to them saying, ‘At twilight you shall eat meat, and in the morning you shall be filled with bread; and you shall know that I am the LORD your God.” (NAS)
Manna from the Lord.
The satisfaction of hunger, provided by God, was at the same time both temporary (there could not be any leftovers), and ongoing (it happened multiple times a day, every day). It met their needs in abundance, while fitting their nomadic lifestyle. (storage needs were minimal, it was portable, they didn’t need to settle in one part of the land in order to grow this, it could be provided anywhere.) More importantly, it was for the purpose of the people knowing that He was the LORD their God. (Exodus 16:12)
In all of His care (His faithful, continuous, perfect care), He satisfied. Wasn’t that the biggest lesson He was engraving on His beloveds’ hearts? “I satisfy.”
13 “If my people would only listen to me, if Israel would only follow my ways,
14 how quickly I would subdue their enemies
and turn my hand against their foes!
15 Those who hate the Lord would cringe before him,
and their punishment would last forever.
16 But you would be fed with the finest of wheat;
with honey from the rock I would satisfy you. (NIV)
I love the heart of God revealed here. It’s like a longing on His part for us to allow Him to fill us up, to be abundantly enough.
I wonder how often I am more a complaining Israelite than a filled-up, fulfilled child of God as He intends and longs for…? I am thinking about how many times in my life (daily) I struggle with the temptation of dissatisfaction.
Here is some of my list. (I am breathing deeply here and counting on His grace, and yours, as I lay a bit of myself bare.)
I am often dissatisfied with…
…the amount of time I have to accomplish something
…how long certain tasks take (or seasons of life)
…the brevity of certain blessings, like vacations, or reunions with sweet people
…a particular nuance to an opportunity that has been granted me
…a certain level of financial blessing
…the timing of an event, opportunity, responsibility, blessing
…the behavior or response from the people in my life (children, husband, coworkers, church family…)
…my own output (writing, cooking, house maintenance, household management, relationship contribution, employment tasks—Really, I could go on forever…)
…what’s in my refrigerator
Ugh, I have to stop. No, really, I MUST stop. As I start to write and think about this, I am becoming ashamed and too embarrassed to reveal it all here. I will take this ugly list and let God work His healing grace in my soul in our private corners together.
If I am truly, deeply honest with myself, and my Maker, here’s what my heart too often echoes (and I cringe to know He hears it loudly) Like Charles Dickens’, Oliver:
“Please, sir, I want some more.”
For me, and it’s different for everyone, when I reflect on my list of dissatisfaction, I see that TIME is a frequent guest. I have known this all along, on some level, and it’s a frequent struggle. God is tilting my focus toward it so, I believe, I can allow Him to do His good work there. After all, I did ask for His help.
You know, when we pray the prayer of David, and honestly make it our own, He’ll get to work.
Search me, God, and know my heart;
test me and know my anxious thoughts.
See if there is any offensive way in me,
and lead me in the way everlasting. Psalm 139:23, 24, (NIV)
The first step to growth is acknowledging a need for it and being open to the lessons and tools God uses to nurture it.
Today I am arming myself with God’s faithful words of admonition and promise.
He is enough:
“For the sake of Christ, then, I am content with weaknesses, insults, hardships, persecutions, and calamities; for when I am weak, then I am strong.” 2 Corinthians 12:10 (RSV)
“The point is this: he who sows sparingly will also reap sparingly, and he who sows bountifully will also reap bountifully. Each one must do as he has made up his mind, not reluctantly or under compulsion, for God loves a cheerful giver. And God is able to provide you with every blessing in abundance, so that you may always have enough of everything and may provide in abundance for every good work…(keep reading, because it’s good news!) 2 Corinthians 9:6ff (RSV)
“I have learned to be content whatever the circumstances. I know what it is to be in need, and I know what it is to have plenty. I have learned the secret of being content in any and every situation, whether well fed or hungry, whether living in plenty or in want. (Here’s the SECRET revealed!) I can do all this through him who gives me strength. Phil. 4:11-13 (NIV)
I’ll continue my list, because through it, He’s teaching me, and I continue to learn.
May you blessed today with awareness of rich satisfaction, in your work, your play, your love, your relationships, your struggles.
Some treasures to ponder:
In Phil 4:11 content is the Greek word, autarkes, which mea
ns: sufficient for one’s self, strong enough or processing enough to need no aid or support; independent of external circumstances; contented with one’s lot, with one’s means, though the slenderest
The word God uses in 2 Corinthians 9:8 for enough is autarkeia (derived from the same as above). I am especially struck by how externals do not penetrate this contentment.
Philippians 4:19, 20 “And my God will supply every need of yours according to His riches in glory in Christ Jesus. To our god and Father be glory for ever and ever. Amen.
Some of those meanings of supply (pleroo) are:
to make full, to fill up, i.e. to fill to the full
to cause to abound, to furnish or supply liberally
to fill to the top: so that nothing shall be wanting to full measure, f
ill to the brim
to carry through to the end, to accomplish, carry out, (some undertaking)
Hebrews 13:5-6 “Keep your life free from love of money, and be content with what you have, for He has said, “I will never fail you nor forsake you.” Hence we can confidently say, “The Lord is my helper, I will not be afraid, what can man do to me?” (RSV)
Back to the beginning…
In a world that brews and nurtures DISsatisfaction and misplaced longing, it can be tough to maintain an understanding of true satisfaction. Look around, we are pelted with stones of discontentment daily through media and social connections. The LORD, however is faithful and gracious. He satisfies our sin debt and through that, our varied longings, in ways that often surprise. May you blessed today with awareness of rich satisfaction, in your work, your play, your love, your struggles.
Let’s help each other (the second step!)…
Where do you struggle with honoring God with grateful contentment? What helps you in this battle?