Deliver my soul from the wicked by your sword, from men by your hand, O Lord,
from men of the world whose portion is in this life. You fill their womb with treasure;
they are satisfied with children, and they leave their abundance to their infants.
As for me, I shall behold your face in righteousness; when I awake,
I shall be satisfied with your likeness.
There is a constant tension that followers of Jesus must always navigate. It’s a tension each of us feels the full weight of every day, and it surrounds the greatest pursuit of our lives…our happiness.
The tension I feel every day is that the God of the universe created this world to be a beautiful and pleasurable place. It was given to us to care for and enjoy. God didn’t create us for a bland existence. He put the capacity and desire for pleasure and joy into our hearts. And there are things on this earth that deliver. There are things that make us happy…and should. Things like having children, good food, beautiful sunsets and sunrises. Even under the curse of a broken world, beauty and pleasure permeate this earth. But God never intended for us to make those things the end all and be all of our existence and our happiness. God desired to be what our joy ended on, and the world He created was meant to give us a taste of pleasure for the purpose of finding it ultimately in Him.
But we are like kids at Christmas who are more concerned with the gifts we are getting than the generous parents who provided the gifts. It’s the natural bent of our hearts. So we are left to wade through the tension of comfort, pleasure, and good things to see the even greater God. The truth of the matter is the tension gets easier the harder life gets. But God promises to be better than the good times…not just better than the bad.
If your heart is to find joy in the giver and not settle for the gifts, join with me in praying and asking God to give us eyes to see how amazing He is…how beautiful He is…how much joy His presence and His Word and His truth bring to our lives. So like the psalmist, we can say “when I awake, I shall be satisfied with your likeness” (15b).