Satisfaction with our lives rarely stays at the same level. We have brief high points, sometimes followed by plunges that take our breath away.
Do you ever feel like your life is like a roller coaster?
The ups and downs don’t feel so fun after a while. We often feel jerked around by changing circumstances, as well as by our own cravings. During the good times we feel satisfied–sort of. During the bad times we feel frustrated. Even worse, the good times and bad times seem to have no predictable rhythm. So we become cynical. Or anxious.
We’re always bracing ourselves for the other shoe to drop.
We’re nearly halfway through our Hungry Bible Study as we open chapter 6. This week’s lesson is intended to conclude Part 1 of our study on a note of hope to steady us on the roller coaster. Our anxieties and cynicism don’t actually come from the ups and downs of life, they come from our view of God. We may know that God is in charge of the roller coaster. But his sovereignty doesn’t always comfort us. Instead it can leave us with questions:
- Why is this happening?
- Is God mad at me?
- What do I need to do to keep him happy?
The bottom line is this–we think it’s all up to us. We think the ups and downs of life happen because God is mad at us, and it’s our job to make him happy again.
We might have been begun the Christian life by faith in Jesus, but now we feel we must live by our performance.
Is God Satisfied with Me?
How do the ups and downs of life affect you personally?
When I asked that question at our Bible study, everyone had a story to tell.
“I struggle with a sense of failure, especially when I feel like I’ve let other people down.”
“They come as a blow to my pride, especially when they fail in an area where I’m pretty competent.”
“I worry about how my failings affect other people, even how it affects their faith in God.”
“Sometimes I’m able to trust God and praise him in bad times, but other times I’m just afraid that I’ve somehow offended him.”
From our opening discussion, we turned from talking about our disappointment with ourselves to the topic of God’s wrath and how different it is from our frustration and disappointment with ourselves.
“For the wrath of God is revealed from heaven against all ungodliness and unrighteousness of men, who by their unrighteousness suppress the truth” (Romans 1:18).
God’s wrath isn’t a mood or an emotional outburst, it is his settled verdict against our sin. God has a right to be angry with us, but he doesn’t fly off the handle. He is able to control it. In fact he has controlled his holy wrath throughout history until for the right time to bring judgment.
When was the right time? God waited until he sent his own Son. He waited until his Son willingly submitted to being crucified, not for his own sins, but for ours. In that moment, God judged his Son, placing all our sins on him–making him sin for us. Then he poured out his justified anger for sin on Jesus, our Sin-bearer.
Our discussion continued, taking a 180 degree turn as we talked about God’s utter satisfaction with the work of his Son. Jesus didn’t deflect or delay God’s righteous judgment. He bore it completely so that there is none left for us. The Father send the Son for this very purpose. It was a Divine Partnership.
“In this is love, not that we have loved God but that he loved us and sent his Son to be the propitiation for our sins” (1 John 4:10).
Yes, yes, I already know that. Of course you do, but how does it quiet your conscience when you do wrong or fail to do right? How do you, with the Holy Spirit’s help, experience Jesus’ saving work when your failures are shouting condemnation? Here’s a script that might help:
Christ, not me, is the propitiation for my sins. On Christ every sin has been judged. Every bit of God’s righteous anger was satisfied. Fully and forever.
God is not moody with his satisfaction anymore than he is with his wrath. Memories don’t stir it again. Grudges don’t resurface and cause him to flare up and throw thunderbolts again.
God is satisfied– not by me, not by the quality of my faith, not by the level of my performance.
God is satisfied by the atoning blood of Jesus the Christ.
Satisfaction Applied, Hope Restored
What does it look like to place our hope in the satisfied God? It looks like:
- Not punishing ourselves, but trusting the punishment of Christ
- Refusing to measure our performance, but counting on the perfect performance of Christ.
- Not making promises to God about how we’ll do better, but counting on his promises fulfilled in Christ
All of our efforts to put God in a good mood so that he’ll be nice to us today are unnecessary. Propitiation has ended in reconciliation. His settled wrath has been replaced by his settled love.
Today, tomorrow, and each day after, our hope is in his steadfast love.
Fed by the Love of a Satisfied God
Sisters, God wants us, not just to taste his love occasionally, but to feed us with his love every day. In the wilderness, God showed his steadfast love to his people by giving them manna. Every. Single. Day. He didn’t withhold it a single time. Not even after the golden calf incident. Not even after their refusal to enter the land. That’s why Moses prayed this bold request,
“Satisfy us in the morning with your steadfast love, that we may rejoice and be glad all our days” (Psalm 90:14).
Moses wanted God’s people to “eat manna and taste love.” (Hungry, p. 125). As we learned in Chapter 4, the manna was always intended to point to Jesus as our bread of life.
“Jesus is our food…He is the visible sign of God’s passionate love for his people. When we feed on his life and death for us, our souls are satisfied with his steadfast love one day at a time” Hungry, p. 125.
So eat his words and taste the love. Every. Single. Day.
Until we see him face to face.