It is hard to believe Mick Jagger and the Rolling Stones are still around and able to sing. It may be surprising, but I was a fan of their music in the late 60’s. In 1965 Jagger and Keith Richards wrote a popular song that epitomizes what I want to write about. They wrote and sang, “I Can’t Get No Satisfaction.”
Sadly, the theme of that song is the life-story of many people. Some spend their whole lives seeking an unattainable state of satisfaction. They bounce from one pursuit to another, thinking—If I only have this, it will make me happy. Others move from one spouse to another, one job to another, one church to another—seeking what they can never find. Most often, when they gain the new object of their desires, it does not result in fulfillment. Frequently they experience a new emptiness, and the vain quest begins again. The illusive dream is just that for most people—a fantasy that fails to satisfy.
In the middle of the seventeenth century, Blaise Pascal, a French mathematician, philosopher and physicist, explained the only solution to such fruitless searches. He wrote: “There is a God-shaped vacuum in the heart of every man which cannot be filled by any created thing—but only by God, the Creator, made known through Jesus Christ.” People are born with a black hole of emptiness in their soul that only God can fill. Neither human relationship nor earthly gain; neither fame nor fortune, can fill the inward void that Jesus does. When Jesus said, “I am the way, the truth, and the life” (John 14:6), He indicated there was no other access to God, truth and life, but by Him.
Centuries before Pascal, King David shared the true key to filling your heart’s desire when he wrote: “Trust in the LORD, and do good; Dwell in the land and cultivate faithfulness. Delight yourself in the LORD; and He will give you the desires of your heart. Commit your way to the LORD, Trust also in Him, and He will do it” (Psalm 37:3-5). God’s people are urged to trust in the Lord, delight in Him and commit their ways to Him. When a person finds their delight in the omnipotent God, He will satisfy the deepest longings of their heart.
It is interesting to me that it is not often the great, extravagant or expensive things that bring joy in life, but most often the simple, normal, daily things that do. Loving relationships with family, church and friends are worth more than gold; the still small voice of God in your heart as you quietly read His Word; a striking sunset or a pleasant breeze on a crisp fall day; special family celebrations like holidays, birthdays, anniversaries, cookouts, ball games or recitals; a porch swing with a morning cup of coffee and your spouse; all these events bring a joy to the heart that money cannot buy.
God has blessed my wife, Pat, and me with five beautiful children—three sons and two daughters. During their formative years we enjoyed doing things and taking trips as a family. Since our children have grown up, when they all come home, it isn’t long before they reminisce, with one of them saying, “Hey, do you remember when we…” followed by some adventure we had. Listening to their discussion is always funny and delightful. The amazing thing to me is that the memories they treasure and discuss, rarely involve traveling to expensive places doing costly things. Most often they laugh together and remember things like, eating baloney sandwiches in a city park; hiking through the woods; picking up rocks (many of which still litter our house and yard); making s’mores; push-starting our VW Bus when the starter often quit; riding bike trails, and eating popcorn Friday nights, while watching movies on our old VCR. What the memories have in common are togetherness, transparency, and love for life and one another.
In reality, only God can bring the satisfaction for which we long, but cannot achieve. The earlier we learn that truth, the richer our lives will become. Though elusive here, it will be realized when believers in Christ spend eternity with and around the object of their desires. At the end of Revelation, John “saw a new heaven and a new earth” (Revelation 21:1). He also heard a voice from the throne saying, ”Behold, the tabernacle of God is among men, and He will dwell among them, and they shall be His people, and God Himself will be among them” (verse 3). In those future days, humanity will have come full circle. The perfect state in Eden where God walked and talked with man in sweet fellowship, later shattered by the entrance of sin, will be restored forever, through our redemption in Jesus Christ. Then, “He will wipe away every tear from their eyes; and there will no longer be any death; there will no longer be any mourning, or crying, or pain; the first things have passed away. And He who sits on the throne said, ‘Behold, I am making all things new’” (verses 4 and 5).
This is God’s eternal answer to the pain of emptiness in life; to filling that black hole in your soul. So, if the chorus of your life is singing, “I can’t get no satisfaction,” you need to quit looking to people, places and things, and look to Christ for your fulfillment. If you have life experiences that reflect this, I would love to hear about them. Write me at LarryEClements@gmail.com. In the meantime please don’t “Paint It Black!” (another Stones’ song! Isn’t that terrible? Sorry!)