The desire for possessions is dangerous and terrible, knowing no satiety; it drives the soul which it controls to the heights of evil.
~Abba Isidore of Pelusia
When the poor and needy seek water, and there is none, and their tongue is parched with thirst, I the Lord will answer them; I the God of Israel will not forsake them. I will open rivers on the bare heights, and fountains in the midst of the valleys. I will make the wilderness a pool of water, and the dry land springs of water. I will put in the wilderness the cedar, the acacia, the myrtle, and the olive. I will set in the desert the cypress, the plane and the pine together, that they may see and know, may consider and understand together, that the hand of the Lord has done this, The Holy One of Israel has created it.
~ from Isaiah 41
Oh beloved, it is true.
Much of what we have been led to believe in our modern (even postmodern, even post-structural) world is that there is some sort of life to be found here. Oh, all of us know that this is not true. Everything that we try to do in this world, somehow comes up short. Every pleasure is not-enough.
Every victory feels so short-lived. But, all of this does give us a little bit of a rush, and so we often think that somewhere, just at the next conquest, or pleasure, or relaxation, or entertainment we will find the supposed green pastures of this world.
They do not exist.
Now, please know for sure that all of creation has within it, true goodness and beauty. G_d made it. He Designed it, and painted out the universe through His Own Word. However, we must understand that nothing in all of creation is Him. And so, the beauty and fulfillment that we seek within creation is never going to be found.
Never going to be found in this world, in its current state.
This fool of a writer is beginning to be able to see it, in some ways. Over the past 36 years, this same Creator has given me the opportunity to live and work in nearly a dozen countries. Each time and place has been an incredible adventure – and i truly would not trade my life for anything else.
However, one of the most sobering facts of living and working among so many locations and languages and cultures, is to realize that each culture has this same idea that many of us have in America. “If I could just get somewhere else; to that new country; to that new job, then everything would be OK.”
I have to admit, as He called us back to live and work in the US, something rose up within me. I had this strong sense that by going back to the country of my birth, that so many things were going to be easier. Oh yes, many things are more convenient. But, what I truly found after having spent so many years overseas, is that the every country is a desert in its own right.
Can we see it?
Actually, there are a couple of things to see here. First, we were Designed to be happy. We were Designed to be fulfilled. This is why we feel the deficit in our desires. We were made for more than what this world can offer!
Secondly, while the world is dry and inhospitable in so many ways, it keeps pointing us to the One who created all the beauty within it, and IS the Deeper Beauty and Fulfillment that we seek. Yes, there is no place in the world that is going to fix us. But, the One Who is setting all things right is to be found wherever we go – if we are willing to look.
So perhaps, we could begin to see our somewhat unfulfilling existence in this world for what it truly is. We are suffering. We are hurting. However, if we see that this suffering and dryness that He plants us in, has a purpose – everything changes.
For, when we see that the world is indeed passing away, we can better begin to see that One Who Never Changes, and Who has Loved us with an everlasting Love. Because, if there was a place in this world that was good enough, we would be deceived into believing that there was no need for anything better.
So, are you hurting and feeling like your little place in the world is not good enough? You are right. And, no place is actually good enough – but Him. Take it on the word of a world-traveler. He is our Home. He is our Life. He is our Fulfillment. Nothing else will do.
Discipline yourselves; keep alert. Like a roaring lion your adversary the devil prowls around, looking for someone to devour. Resist him, steadfast in your faith, for you know that your brothers and sisters throughout the world are undergoing the same kinds of suffering.
~ The Apostle Peter, a pebble used by The Rock of our salvation to build His Church