No one and no thing can satisfy your soul like Jesus.
Phase one of life: You spend years trying to find satisfaction, stability, “happiness” in ways that never produce the lasting results you are pining for. Each of us has a story. We have all faced rejection in some form. We all struggle with questions deep inside about our worth. Each person born on planet earth longs to be loved, safely loved, and validated just as they are. But because we search in the faces and places of addiction, people-pleasing, promiscuity, control and manipulation, living the life of a chamilion…willing and eager to adjust and blend and reinvent ourselves in order to win love and validation, we continue to grasp and groan inwardly until we run out of strength.
The most life-changing moments of my life have been the ones in which I lifted empty and shaking hands to a God so much bigger than my biggest attempts in conniving and contriving for results in my life. I call it brokeness. Because that is the way I see it. I was born broken, as we all are. I was born, raised and living with gaping holes and a need for His extravagant love, a love not even those with the best intentions is capable of giving. I lived out phase one. And I found, in the end, I was broken beyond the repair of human hands. I did what really I had never done before. I faced this Jesus of my childhood in all the rags of my sin, my pain, my ridiculous efforts at changing. I faced Him with a trembling heart…worn, torn, abused. I faced Him in my utter exhaustion at being a good enough Christian. I faced Him with all the baggage that comes with church-world sometimes…being judged, hemmed in and never measuring up to the full spiritual stature and expectation of others. I faced Him with a struggling marriage, innocent little girls and all my failed attempts to do better with both. I faced Him with overwhelming feelings of helplessness. I was quite tired of looking in the mirror for the answers. I was worn down and worn out from looking to others. I was done trying to do more and be more than I was. I faced the truth that what I was would not ever be enough and what was left to do but face Him, look Him full in the face, and show Him the truth about me? Sure, Jesus already knows. But there is something spectacular and powerful when you and Jesus take a look at the truth together. You know what? Unlike so much of the human experience, Jesus didn’t sigh or shake His head at the truth of me. Jesus didn’t point out how I could have prayed better or which scriptures I didn’t appropriate. Jesus took my shaky, empty hands and held them for a while. In time He asked me to trust Him a little more and I gave Him all of my worn, torn, abused heart. I was being washed, caught up in a torrential downpour, of a love so extravagant, so hard to comprehend, that it began to change me. I couldn’t run for cover. And I didn’t want to. It was the sweetest time of my life so far. Jesus and His crazy Love and His extravagant Grace healed me. I learned to be myself…a much better version.
Phase two: Jesus touches you. Heals you. Delivers you. Challenges you. Adds and takes away. Multiplies and Divides. Jesus does things and takes you places you couldn’t have imagined. Laughter in your home. Ministry in your heart. God-signs and God-provision. He begins to call…beckon you forward. Puts His work in your life. Certainly He rescues us from our pit and makes us whole and new so we can then reach out to others. Yes, time for your assignment. Time to be used by God. But you know what truth remains?
No one and no thing can satisfy your soul like Jesus. There is no assignment, there is no gifting, there is no extension of ourselves, our energy or time that can satisfy like Jesus. See, sometimes after we come through our hardest seasons and reach the promise, we find the promise itself does not satisfy. I write with joyfully tear-stained cheeks this afternoon to say there is no fulfilled promise that outshines the love and light found waiting in the presence of the Promise Keeper. In your struggle, as you reach out with your own empty hands and hard-faced truth, determine to stay caught up in Jesus. Yes, He will heal you. He will deliver you. Then He will set your feet on a path He has called you to and tell you to start walking. He will lead you from one season to the next, ready to reveal Himself in a new way and teach you what you need to know. But in every season, promise planting as well as promise reaping, there is no joy, no peace, no water for your thirst to be found except in Him.
I have this precious experience of facing truth with Him. I have the countless moments of His presence at my kitchen table and in my front porch rocking chair. I have experienced this intimate fellowship with my Creator. I can tell you as a person in a season of promise reaping, I would and will give every promise back and away in a minute to stay near Him. There is an amazing excitement in watching God move and fulfill His Word in our lives. But there is no promise, no long-awaited season of new beginnings, that can fill me or move me like Jesus. Like being near Him. I have learned, am still learning!, the most beautiful part of every season is just being with Him. Near Him. Lifting my now full hands and all the current realities of my life to Him. Offering back to Him all that He has given. Letting Him continue to take my hands. Take my heart. My life.
There is no one else and nothing else like Him.