To seek satisfaction is, I believe, a universal human quest. It is driven biologically, socially and spiritually. It is an elusive quest that is subject to both the law of diminishing returns and satiation.
The law of diminishing returns manifests itself in the lives of those of us who achieve and then ask, “What’s next?” “What can top this?” “Where do I go from here?” “What is the next novelty?” Satiation is the experience of those of us who obtain our desires and add to them only to find that more is not better; we are “full” but experience no pleasure.
Satisfaction — an elusive quest, but not an impossible one.
This morning, I was reading the words of Jesus. “Blessed are those who hunger and thirst after righteousness, for they shall be satisfied.” It struck me that the actual hunger and thirst cited here are ongoing, pleasurable and ultimately satisfying without either satiation or the frantic quest for numbing novelty. There’s a joyful hunger and thirst for what is eternal as opposed to ephemeral.
Other passages of God’s word came to mind:
“‘My people shall be satisfied with my goodness,’ declares the Lord.” The creator who made us, made us to find satisfaction in himself. As Augustine expressed it, “Thou madest us for thyself, and our heart is restless, until it repose in thee.” (Confessions). Dissatisfaction and restlessness (like spiritual hunger and thirst) have been woven into our lives in order that we might seek God’s goodness and repose in him. All other sources will disappoint and leave us disillusioned, cynical and frequently in compulsive addictive bondage.
God, through Isaiah his prophet, captures the futility of so much of our efforts to be satisfied, and then offers his solution: “Why do you spend money for what is not bread, and your wages for what does not satisfy? Listen carefully to me, and eat what is good and delight yourself in abundance. Incline your ear and come to me. Listen that you may live.” The invitation to “Listen…to me…come to me” is pointed and profound. There is no other source of satisfaction.
Finally, I am deeply moved by the epitaph of Abraham (175 years old) recorded in Genesis: “And Abraham breathed his last and died in a ripe old age, an old man and satisfied with life; and he was gathered to his people.” He was a man who trusted God, listened to God, came to God and sought eternal promises. Abraham (though not perfect) was “a friend of God” (Isaiah 41:8), the creator and the giver of ultimate satisfaction.
Hopefully, you and I will seek and then experience very personally this particular kind of satisfaction today, right here in Sheridan.
Gary Kopsa is a chaplain with Volunteers of America Northern Rockies.