“That was so satisfying,” my grandson said.
Surprised, I wondered, “Where did that came from?”
He had just fished out a slippery shard of thin ice from a puddle. It lay shattered like glass where he’d thrown it. Red-cheeked and half-frozen, he beamed with pleasure.
The statement sounded funny from the lips of a sage four-year-old, whose understanding of satisfaction can be summed up by two cookies rather than one, winning a game of Memory, or beating his brothers at Tag.
In his underdeveloped world, where happy and unhappy rule, his regular vocabulary doesn’t yet include the word, “satisfaction.” At this stage of life, getting what he wants pretty much defines how satisfied he feels. Unfortunately, it’s a bit like me, even at my stage of life.
His fourteen-year-old cousin leaned over and whispered into my ear, “He got that from me, cause I said the same thing.”
Ah. Yes. How quickly we grasp what defines satisfaction by other people’s ideas or examples. How readily others inculcate our perception of what fulfills us.
Satisfaction can be defined as “fulfillment of need or want,” “contentment,” or “gratification.”
Jesus talked about true satisfaction in Matthew 5. Crowds came to hear His Sermon on the Mount, and His simple yet powerful message turned the status quo upside down. God’s view of those He named “blessed,” differed from the outward trappings of religious garb and tradition. It laid open the heart.
“Blessed are those who hunger and thirst for righteousness, for they shall be satisfied.” (Matthew 5:6 ESV)
Those who hunger for righteousness, or as the original Greek describes, “crave ardently,” are people God calls “blessed.” Those who thirst, or as in the original, “painfully feel their soul’s need,” will find refreshment. The famished heart discovers true satisfaction in Jesus.
I easily fall into a trap of believing the lie that something, anything, other than Jesus can bring satisfaction. But will it?
Years ago, when I studied the Italian language, I discovered that the typical American mealtime comment, “I’m full,” does not correctly describe the Italian experience. Instead they would declare themselves “satisfied.” Need is met, and no more wanted.
Eve, with all necessities perfectly met, in a lush and beautiful garden, reached for the forbidden fruit. Humankind’s insatiable desire for satisfaction drives us toward an elusive destination.
If we leaf through the pages of Ecclesiastes we find its author’s ho-hum experience attests to how riches, power, and fame fall short of gratification or contentment. Sometimes that satisfaction we cannot get leaves its aftertaste in all of our best intentions and greatest achievements. Humankind’s insatiable desire for satisfaction drives us toward an elusive destination. Click To Tweet
So what does true satisfaction look like?
In the New Testament, a woman once came across Jesus resting at a well. She had tried in vain to find satisfaction in all the wrong places. But what her searching soul longed for, Jesus offered. What does true satisfaction look like? Click To Tweet
“Everyone who drinks of this water will be thirsty again, but whoever drinks of the water that I will give him will never be thirsty again. The water that I will give him will become in him a spring of water welling up to eternal life.” (John 4:13-14 ESV)
An older Apostle Paul, bearing life’s scars and in prison for his faith, displayed joy and contentment. He testified to the satisfaction which only Christ could bring.
“Not that I am speaking of being in need, for I have learned in whatever situation I am to be content. I know how to be brought low, and I know how to abound. In any and every circumstance, I have learned the secret of facing plenty and hunger, abundance and need.” (Philippians 4:11-12 ESV)
This is the time of year when we are often caught up in pushing ourselves into planning toward goals which ignore the first and most important truth foundational to everything we do.
Jesus fulfills our soul’s needs and desires.
Our relationship with Jesus brings, not necessarily the changes in circumstance we think we need, but the relationship for which our soul longs.
This is lasting satisfaction.
*Photos by Philip Schroeder