I have had a rough day today. A lot of things have gone quite well. For example, I talked with two of my long-lost friends that I’d almost forgotten about. But some bad things have also happened. I won’t give examples lest you laugh at me. It is not the bad things that have made my day rough, but rather the combination of the two. My heart feels like it has been dumped into a running food processor, with the good stuff getting mixed with the bad stuff and messing me up.
So today, on my way from work, I visited a bakery and bought myself a chocolate cream cake in the name of counting it all joy when I fall into various trials (see James 1:2). You see, at church we say, “When you are faced with trials, throw a party.” And this was my way of throwing a party, or so I thought.
So I am seated at the dining table, taking an occasional bite on my chocolate cream cake, and asking myself some serious questions. For starters, if this is a party, it is a pity party. And I feel like an alcoholic turning to his bottle to drown out his problems. I am almost sure that the pleasure I am getting from the chocolate cream cake will not last long.
While it is good not to take life too seriously and to laugh at some of our problems, where do we draw the line between being carefree, and turning to something pleasurable to fulfil our deepest needs? I have come to realise that in this life, nothing really satisfies. Most times when we decide to get born again and clean up our lives, all we do is exchange bad behaviours with good ones, thinking that it will bring satisfaction in our lives. We need to realise that anyone can become good out of their own will-power. I know many non-Christian friends of mine who behave better than me.
I know it is pretty obvious that bad habits like smoking and drinking never satisfy. But I want to tell you that even the good ones also never satisfy. Even as I eat this cake, I know it won’t satisfy my deepest desire.
Only Christ satisfies.
Many times God has to knock us off our high horses so we can realise that him, and him only can satisfy. I sometimes turn to chocolate to drown out my pain. Another person turns to television, another to work, another to gardening, and most Christians turn to charity work and ministry. But all of these leave us empty and feeling dejected.
Only Christ satisfies.
I’ve only eaten half of the chocolate cake. It has lost its appeal because I know that compared to Christ, this chocolate is no match. It cannot bring lasting satisfaction.
What about you? When you are drowning in trials or problems, when you are wallowing in guilt or doubt, what do you turn to?