"The eyes of the Lord are on the righteous,
and His ears are attentive to their cry." - Psalm 34:15 (KJV)
I can't belabor the point enough that God loves you. Any idea that you've slipped His mind is a total lie.
Faith: The Main Ingredient of Soul Food
By Jennifer E. Jones
I just returned from a soul vacation. It was high time.
Recently I’ve been chronicling this spiritual journey that I’m on. With “Soul Satisfaction”, I dropped you off in the middle of the story. In true Star Wars fashion, I’d like to go back and show you how I got to such a place of discontentment to begin with.
For a long time, I wasn’t happy, and as most adults do, I masked my disposition by keeping busy. It was deceptively admirable at times. I had a full life where I was always on the go. Yet no matter where I went, I was always one bad day away from depression.
So I kept moving. I figured that I could keep the emptiness at bay. It was a pride issue – a method of self-preservation and a way of saying, "I can take care of myself better than God can."
But that’s no way to live, and God knew that. A fall was the only way for me to stop running. So in mid-sprint, He tripped me.
I had one of those classic moments that occurs in every Christian’s walk. You believe God for something like you never have before. You see signs that it will come to pass, and then your dreams are dashed. I fell hard into disillusionment.
The greatest disappointment came from my façade’s inability to handle my pain. Dining out didn’t help. Friends didn’t help. Work certainly didn’t make things any easier. The kingdom that I built crumbled like wet cardboard in the face of a real problem.
The most frequent lie that I swallowed during this time was the one that claimed that God led me astray. He dragged me through the wilderness only to hitch a ride back to Heaven without me.
So there I was, on a plastic chair in our church office, watching Louie Giglio on the big screen tell me that Jesus satisfies. I was not convinced. However, it wouldn't be long before I came around.
You know the middle of the story. Such a sermon moves me to seriously seek God. Psalm 27:4 becomes my mission statement. Faced with what felt like an ocean between me and God, I was inspired by my pastor to fast and pray – the soul vacation. After much time in God's presence and little food on my plate, I’m happy to report how dreadfully wrong I was.
But Zion said, The Lord hath forsaken me, and my Lord hath forgotten me. Can a woman forget her sucking child, that she should not have compassion on the son of her womb? Yea, they may forget, yet will I not forget thee. Behold, I have graven thee upon the palms of my hands; thy walls are continually before me. (Isaiah 49:14-16 KJV)
It is literally impossible for God to forget us. The scars on Jesus’s hands from the Cross are constant reminders to Him of how much He loves us. When His children cry, those scars are like megaphones for their pain. He can’t ignore them. In fact, when your heart is broken, it draws God closer to you (Psalm 34:18). That alone lifted my spirits.
I also found encouragement in, of all books, Lamentations. If you think you’ve got problems, check out Jeremiah. He had so many troubles that he believed that God had it in for him (Lamentations 3:1). Yet mid-way through the chapter, his outlook changed.
He wrote, “This I recall to my mind, therefore have I hope. It is of the Lord's mercies that we are not consumed, because His compassions fail not. They are new every morning: great is thy faithfulness” (Lamentations 3:21-23).
There’s a lot to chew on in those verses, but what caught my eye was "God’s faithfulness". I looked down at the doctrinal footnotes of my Bible. It read:
The word faithfulness comes from a root meaning "be permanent, secure, reliable…" The word root stresses that real faith is more than inner belief, even more than whole-souled committal. It is a condition of the soul marked by such a stable character and an attitude of total trust that the believer’s whole life is imbued with consistent, responsible service to God. From the biblical standpoint, true faith results in faithfulness to one’s life.
My eyes rose from the page in awe. I thought, 'This is why I am unhappy. This is why Jesus isn’t the satisfaction of my life.' I had faith, but it didn’t have me.
Faith is not something we possess. It’s not a bunch of ideas that vaguely explain how the world works. It’s a state of being. Faith is life.
In Hebrews 11:6, it states that without faith it’s impossible to please God. Actually it’s impossible to do anything. Ninety percent of everything we know and do is somehow based on faith. For example, we can't go back in time, but we believe what historians tell us about the founding of our nation. We go to work every day in faith that we will return home safely. Otherwise, how could we ever leave the house? Every man is given a measure of faith by God, and -- Christian or otherwise -- we all use it every day.
So how hard is it to extend our faith just a little bit further to the witnesses who saw Jesus raise Lazarus from the dead? Or to the Old Testament prophets who went to their graves preaching about the coming of a Messiah who would change the world? When we apply this faith to the God who gave it to us, it opens up a whole new universe where anything can happen.
All things are possible to him that believeth. (Mark 9:23)
It's not a question of what God has or has not done for you or even what you can do for Him. It's a question of belief. Do you really believe in God and His Word? Is your faith such a part of your soul that John 3:16 (i.e., Jesus died for your sins) rings just as true as Romans 8:28 (i.e., all things work together for good)?
When I realized that my faith only covered basic salvation and didn't stretch far enough to reach His goodness, I was dumbfounded... and instantly repentant. How much time had I wasted asking God to show up in my life when He was already here asking me to the do the same thing?
Like Dorothy in The Wizard of Oz, everything that I ever wanted had been with me all along. Peace, love, joy… do you think any of these attributes are unattainable to a Christian? I don’t even have space to list all the verses that explain how those things are found in Christ. If you believe that He lives inside of you, then you have everything you need. You’re saved from Hell and death, given a new life of abundance, and blessed with so much love that you have to give it away. That sounds like a satisfied soul to me.
I laugh now at the notion that it's natural to always feel restless. I don't sing that old U2 song with such conviction any more. I found what I was looking for. It took a little soul-searching and putting myself aside, but it was worth it. He filled every crack and fed every desire. He is more than enough. He satisfies truly and deeply.
If you're running today and trying to fill that hole in your heart with everything under the sun, may I make a suggestion? The Lord is good, and He gives good gifts to His children. Believe Him. Seek Him, and as the Scriptures say, you’ll find Him to be everything that you need. True satisfaction for the soul... It only lies in Jesus Christ.
CBN IS HERE FOR YOU!
Are you seeking answers in life? Are you hurting?
Are you facing a difficult situation?
A caring friend will be there to pray with you in your time of need.