There is a common trait amongst Christians. They are dissatisfied. They are dissatisfied with what this world has to offer.
Everyone seeks satisfaction. This is a human trait. In fact, I would assert that this is primary among the things that differentiate man from the animals. Other differentiators have been proposed, such as
- Humans have fire, animals do not.
- Humans have a conscience, animals do not.
- Humans express love, animals only emulate it.
Of these and other propositions, much debate as to their veracity has been entertained. But which of the animals has ever expressed a lack of satisfaction? Sure, a dog may seek satiation for hunger, but satiation of a simple physiological need is certainly different from satisfaction in life. What animal has ever, after having his basic needs of hunger, thirst, and warmth met, expressed a further lack of satisfaction? But people everywhere and at all times—times of need as well as times of plenty—consistently have expressed a need for a sense of satisfaction in life.
So driven are we humans, and so deep is our need for satisfaction, that we have even learned to redefine its parameters of fulfillment in our desperate search thereof. In other words, we have taught ourselves to halt the search short of its attainment, substituting one or several catharses, in order to acheive a sense of satisfaction this side of its authentic fulfillment. In still other words, the world will tell the unsatisfied person that he is hopelessly idealistic, he needs to lower his expectations, relax his standards, and that the problem is not that life cannot fulfill him, but that he is seeking the impossible, and thus, the problem lies within himself. His needs are too great. His expectations are unattainable. He wants more than can be offered.
This is the plight of the one who seeks to answer the call of the small transcendental voice within.
The problem is this: God created us with a piece of eternity in our hearts. This piece of eternity nags at our consciousness, constantly calling us to the attainment of something unattainable with respect to this temporal existence within which we appear to be bound.
So for some of us, life becomes a challenge of hushing this nagging piece of eternity so that we can find a way to enjoy this life of temporality while we have it.
But for others of us, life becomes a challenge of acknowledging this nagging piece of eternity and finding a way to enjoy this life of temporality while fervently seeking the answers to the deeper questions of eternity.
So some find a way to manufacture satisfaction, through whatever means necessary, whereas others remain unsatisfied, for they cannot find true satisfaction in this temporal life. They cannot ignore the call of eternity, thus they remain unsatisfied.
To the world at large, Christians seem unsatisfied. The world therefore pities the Christian, for he seems unable to find true meaning in the pursuits of this worldly, temporal existence. But who, really, is to be pitied:—the satisfied soul who is doomed to eternity in hell, or the unsatisfied soul who will one day be fully satisfied by the eternal loving grace of God, the father of all satisfaction?
I want to encourage my Christian friends in the reality that "Now is eternity," as Erich Sauer has put it. Satisfaction is here now, pending only its full manifestation when the creation itself will be liberated from its bondage to decay and brought into the freedom and glory of the children of God.
We know that the whole creation has been groaning as in the pains of childbirth right up to the present time. Not only so, but we ourselves, who have the firstfruits of the Spirit, groan inwardly as we wait eagerly for our adoption to sonship, the redemption of our bodies. For in this hope we were saved. But hope that is seen is no hope at all. Who hopes for what they already have? But if we hope for what we do not yet have, we wait for it patiently. —Romans 8:22-25 NIV
Through faith, we can consider it a done deal, and therein lies our satisfaction.
Now faith is confidence in what we hope for and assurance about what we do not see... By faith Abraham, when called to go to a place he would later receive as his inheritance, obeyed and went, even though he did not know where he was going. For he was looking forward to the city with foundations, whose architect and builder is God... [All these people] were still living by faith when they died. They did not receive the things promised; they only saw them and welcomed them from a distance, admitting that they were foreigners and strangers on earth... These were all commended for their faith, yet none of them received what had been promised, since God had planned something better for us so that only together with us would they be made perfect. —Hebrews 11:1, 8, 10, 13, 39-40 NIV
As for my freinds who are not Christians, I only implore you: do not ignore that small transcendental voice. Don't settle for cheap, unauthentic satisfaction. Because, like everything else in this life, it won't last.