One of life’s most challenging lessons is to realize that true satisfaction is found only in God. There are many pretenders but only God is sufficient to give meaning and purpose to your life. Apart from God every single relationship and endeavor you pursue carries the reality of disappointment and frustration.
One of the most devastating things you can to do to those you love is to expect them to provide for you what can only be found in God. No human can bear the weight of being God for another person.
Practically, what does this mean?
No child can bear the weight of being the reason for your satisfaction in life. This will cause you to either ask too much of them or to attempt to live out your dreams through them. In either case, you will know bitter disappointment. Children are not able to bring you the satisfaction you crave. When your expectations are not met, you are crushed when your child does not deliver what you wanted. And in turn, your child is crushed under that same weight.
No spouse can be God for you. You want to be understood, appreciated, protected. But, husbands and wives, even the best ones, are sinners as well. They will, at some point, fail you. They can never offer healing and redemption for your sin. When you look to your spouse to do only what God can do, you turn away from God and put all of your hopes and dreams on an inadequate human. You forget your spouse is just like you, a sinner in deep need of God’s grace. Your spouse cannot be God for you.
When you look for a career or some level of human accomplishment to bring satisfaction, you find this satisfaction, even if you achieve it, is fleeting and lasts only for the moment. An accomplishment, even a significant one, will never cover the weight of your own sin. You will always long for more.
Are you satisfied in God alone? If not, life offers only a frustrating journey trying to find that which cannot be found. But, if God is your satisfaction then you are free to enjoy and serve those you love without making them your reason for living. You can show love when you child fails because God is your satisfaction. You can comfort your spouse when they are hurting because God is your comfort. You can be free from needing others to be God for you! You can know this satisfaction and rest in God alone. Psalm 62 beautifully captures this reality:
Let all that I am wait quietly before God,
for my hope is in him.
He alone is my rock and my salvation,
my fortress where I will not be shaken.
My victory and honor come from God alone.
He is my refuge, a rock where no enemy can reach me.
O my people, trust in him at all times.
Pour out your heart to him,
for God is our refuge.
Jay Younts is the author of Everyday Talk, Everyday Talk About Sex & Marriage, and he is the Shepherd Press blogger. He is a ruling elder at Redeemer Associate Reformed Presbyterian Church in Moore, South Carolina. He and his late wife Ruth have five adult children.