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Where Does Our Discontent Come From?

Recent statistics claim that the average income in America is $65,000. Yet there is more discontent in America today than during the Great Depression of the 30’s! Pretty hard to believe when you see a low unemployment and the booming economy of the U.S. Why?

Pascal once said that there is within us a God-shaped voice. I believe the discontentment is based on a longing for something more or something that is aching inside to find true purpose. And yet so many fear the gospel and its teaching. Why? Is the longing that so many face a problem that can be solved by having a better marriage or more stuff or money or being healthier or in the right house or the right job? That is the answer that we are sold through commercials and those individuals who have achieved success and stuff.

Jesus tells the story of the woman at the well. She was a Samaritan woman who, in the middle of the day, was going to the well to fill her bucket with water. Jesus asked her for some water. This was a woman who needed to go to the well in the hottest part of the day because she had a bad reputation…5 husbands. Jesus saw that she had problems. He never did get his water, but he did see her need and gave her hope and purpose. He did not despise her or criticize her but told her that she was to pursue water that does not dry up. He satisfied her longing that even she could not put words to.

“Whoever drinks the water I give will never thirst again…a spring of water that wells up eternal life.”

Are we not trying to dig wells of our own making? In the hope of finding satisfaction? Contemporary society is telling us that we merely need to deal with our insides and we will find satisfaction. Transcendental meditation, therapy, small groups, etc. are our societies answers to all of our discontent. Merely deal with the inside and you will find peace.

Not only has that not worked in our modern age but we have more dissatisfaction than ever before. It is interesting that Christianity and more specifically the belief in Jesus has gone down at the same time. Direct relationship?

Could the disconnect be the perception of sin and the perception of what it takes for Jesus to love you? Are we scared of the judgement of Jesus and therefore, unaware of how He loves us?

In my experience, non-believers think, if they “become a Christian” they will have to give up anything that is fun or meaningful in their life. In addition, many wrongfully believe, that Jesus is looking for perfect people to follow Him. And all those that I encounter are disenchanted with the hypocrisy of so many Christians. Despite their lack of satisfaction with their lives, they find many excuses not to believe what Jesus has promised us.

We have all had some form of abuse or neglec, hurt or loneliness. Satan wants us to believe that the hole that is in us can be filled with the stuff in this world and the more stuff, the more satisfied we will be…yet we still fill the void. That void is a God-shaped hole. It can only be filled with the Spirit of the Lord. Trust me on this, it works.

 

The deep level of satisfaction and joy and delight will only come with the belief in Jesus love for you.

 

I cannot explain the mystery of a friend who finds Jesus’s love and erases years of abuse and hardship. But when I see it, I believe that He has found the love that melts you. It doesn’t melt who you are, but who you are not. Turns out my friend was not the abuse that he endured. He was something else, astonishing and glorious. He now helps hundreds of vets by bringing hope and meaning to their lives.

I cannot explain a special friend who abused alcohol and was abused by her father and then was stricken with a dentist’s mistake that brought about severe facial pain for 30 years, but found the love of Jesus and now ministers to so many that have to endure pain. She would surely be justified to rest in her discontent and inadequate satisfaction with life.  She could just rest in her depression and yet, she chooses to get beyond her own pain and minister to others with pain. How can she overcome? It is only through the loving grace of Jesus because on her own it is humanly impossible.

Both of my friends could have festered in the “what if” of their pasts. What if they had great parents who did not abuse them? What if they were surrounded as kids with loving relatives and friends? What if they had a comfortable home and stable job and perfect marriage?

Here is the secret to helping those with a lack of satisfaction.

Everyone is looking to be told that who they are is right and true and wholly acceptable. No need to tinker or tweak…exactly right. The resilience of life is born by grounding oneself in our own loveliness hitting notes we thought were way out of our range. God is absolutely satisfied with our sacredness, the loveliness that is in each of us—despite what seems to be a shape that’s less than perfect.

 

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joe-sturnioloBy Joe Sturniolo
Christian Family Legacy and Wealth Planning
Joe believes that stronger families are the vehicle God uses to bring about significant impact for His Kingdom.

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