We live in a wasteland.
For all the promises and pleasures of the world, none of us are truly satisfied. We all feel a deep yearning in our hearts that we can’t satisfy with any amount of money, success, or relationships. We all deal with the frustration of experiencing an earthly pleasure or satisfaction and realizing that deep down we still feel unsatisfied.
Many of us wander from one pleasure to the next with the hope of finding real satisfaction. Others set their sights on a single pleasure or achievement they assume will give them the peace and joy that they want. All of us must face the reality that what our hearts want and what the world offers are not the same thing.
This puts us into a difficult situation. We must navigate a world overflowing with promises and devoid of any real satisfaction or peace. We must journey through a wasteland with the hope of someday finding the elusive joy and peace that we need to be truly satisfied.
Sadly, most of us give up the search for the true satisfaction our hearts long for.
Few of us would describe the joy, peace, and satisfaction we look for day to day as supernatural. An even smaller number of us assume that we can find a lasting source of peace or satisfaction that will sustain us through the trials of life. Instead, we look for just enough enjoyment and satisfaction to get us through the week.
Simply put, we don’t look for the pure water that will fully quench the thirst of our soul. We look for whatever keeps us from dying of thirst. We either don’t think that the pure water exists or it takes too much trouble to find.
We accept that we live in a wasteland and that we can’t do much about it. This frustrated resignation impacts all of us and doesn’t just happen overnight. We can trace this perspective back to when we came into this world.
Where it All Began
We come into this world with a hole in our hearts. God made us to live in relationship with Him and we come into this world separated from him. To put it simply, we miss the very thing that we need the most.
This hole causes all of us frustration. We look to family, friends, and pleasures to satisfy the yearning of our hearts and nothing really does the job. Our frustration and confusion build until we feel powerless against this desire.
Our feeling of powerlessness makes us wonder if God meant for us to live without true satisfaction. I’m not the only one who wonders if God wants us to live with a heart filled with joy, peace, and satisfaction. Many of us question if God cares about the longing of our hearts.
For me this question started with the hole in my heart, but didn’t end there. I’ve dealt with a great deal of frustration because I’ve wondered why God put me on this earth with a lonely and broken heart. Then all the struggles and trials of life weighed down my heart even more and increased my frustration.
I’ve lost both of my parents and I’ve asked God many times why he made the hole in my heart get bigger instead of smaller. I assumed that God understood my situation and that he simply held back what I needed to fix the longing and loneliness that I felt. I looked around at all the happy people around me and wondered why God would make my life so hard.
Eventually, I gave into my frustration and powerlessness. I believed the lie that God didn’t care about the longing in my heart and how I wandered through a wasteland looking for satisfaction. I decided to stop waiting for God and start taking control of finding satisfaction for my heart’s desires.
I decided that I would serve in Heaven but rule here on earth.
I came to the false conclusion that the goals of seeking God and finding satisfaction didn’t align. I decided that God could be in control of my eternal soul, but I would take control of my life on earth. Instead of calling Him Lord, I tried to reign in His place.
Ruling the Wasteland
For most of us, our wasteland reign begins when we assume that we can’t fill the hole in our hearts on earth and that we must wait until we get to Heaven for that. This assumption leads us to think that we must turn to earthly satisfaction to keep our yearning at bay or just distract ourselves from it. Most of us follow this assumption into a variety of earthly pleasures that all promise to satisfy.
All these pleasures only increase the hole in our hearts.
After every disappointment, we face the same choice. We choose between giving up our attempts to control our satisfaction or trudging onto the next pleasure that promises to make our lives better. So many of us choose to continue our weary reign of this wasteland.
We continue our reigns long after we see past the lies of the wasteland because of the comfort that control offers us. Trekking through life with an unsatisfied heart makes us feel powerless and frustrated. This feeling of powerlessness haunts us, places powerful doubts in our head, and makes us crave any sense of control we can find.
Where the Apple Falls
But the serpent said to the woman, “you will not surely die. For God knows that when you eat of it your eyes will be opened, and you will be like God, knowing good and evil.” -Genesis 3:4-5
As the saying goes, ‘the apple doesn’t fall far from the tree’. In our case, we fall into the same trap Satan tricked Eve into so many years ago. He tricked her into thinking God was holding out on her. She responded to that lie by trying to take control of her situation.
We do the very same thing. We think that God is holding back satisfaction and in response we try to take control of our lives. Even after we discover that our control leads to disaster, we still struggle for control because the initial lie continues to eat at us.
We still wonder if God is holding out on us.
The idea that the all powerful and loving God is holding out on you will shake you to your core. Whenever this doubt hits me, it feels like my whole world trembles. I feel the need to do anything just to make my world stop shaking.
The Rise of the king.
At this point, any possible way to control my life seems like a strong tower of stability. I run to anything that gives me a false sense of control or security even if I know it’s bad for me. I choose any pleasure or experience that gives me a sense of control and gives me the title of wasteland king.
As a wasteland king, I know I can’t find the life I needed. I know that my attempts to control my life will hurt me. I make this choice because I don’t believe any other way will work
When I try to take control of my life, I am happy to call Jesus my Savior and trust that he will get me into Heaven. I also shrug off my need to call him Lord and humble myself before Him here. I choose to rule in his place instead.
Too many of us know what it’s like to rule the wasteland. Too few of us have given up our false sense of control. All of us must choose between our reign and His.
This choice is very simply and extremely difficult. We all face this difficult choice a thousand times a day. None of us will choose correctly every time, but if we acknowledge the depth of our everyday choices we can slowly make Jesus Lord over everything in our lives.Image Copyright Luca Galuzzi http://www.galuzzi.it/default_new.aspx by