He has made everything beautiful in its time.
Also He has put eternity in their hearts . . .
(Ecclesiastes 3:11)

THERE ARE SOME YEARNINGS IT IS GOOD TO HAVE EVEN IF THE EMPTINESS OF THEIR UNFULFILLMENT IS HARD TO BEAR. Even if we use the word “pain” to describe the feeling of not having something we need and desire, it is still a fact that pain can play a useful role in our spiritual lives. Young Samuel’s mother, Hannah, would have had many long years to yearn for her son after she devoted him to the Lord’s service at the tabernacle, but still she could say, “My heart rejoices in the Lord” (1 Samuel 2:1).

The fact is, no one gets to have everything they desire in this world. And even if a person did (Solomon probably came close), they would still have to confess to an aching emptiness that never completely goes away. The reason for that is simply that God has placed “eternity in [our] hearts.” He has given us needs that, to be quite honest, have no satisfaction in this world.

With regard to our unmet needs, the first mistake we make is to try to do the impossible and “have it all” in this world. It seems unnatural to us, if not unfair, for a person to have any need not met, and so we spend our lives trying to find something to stuff into every hole in our hearts. But that is a vain effort. God will see to it that we suffer some deprivation somewhere in our lives.

The second mistake we make is resisting, and maybe even resenting, the fact that some of our needs can’t be satisfied right now. Rather than making us better, as it should, our emptiness can make us bitter if we don’t discipline our thinking about it.

But someone says, “Oh, but God is all we need.” Well, yes and no. He may give us some things that compensate for what we don’t have, and He will certainly be all we need in eternity. But for now, there’s no way around the pain of the needs that are not met.

Now here is the point: we ought to be content to be unsatisfied in this world! I know that sounds contradictory, but it isn’t. We can be glad we don’t have all we need, because if we did, we’d soon forget about God. Unmet needs are powerful attention-getters, and with them God is trying to get our attention focused on eternity.

“I thank thee, O Lord, that thou hast so set eternity within my heart that no earthly thing can ever satisfy me wholly” (John Baillie).

Gary Henry — WordPoints.com + AreYouaChristian.com

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