“Indeed, if we consider the unblushing promises of reward and the staggering nature of rewards promised in the Gospels, it would seem that our Lord finds our desires not TOO STRONG, but TOO WEAK. We are half-hearted creatures, fooling about with drink and sex and ambition when infinite joy is offered us, like an arrogant child who wants to go on making mud pies in a slum because he cannot imagine what is meant by the offer of a holiday at the sea. We are far too easily pleased.” –C.S.Lewis, The Weight of Glory
I have this insatiable need for adventure and a sometimes equally portioned amount of fear. For example, cruising the ocean, or even swimming in the ocean for that matter thrills me and terrifies me. I have wanted desperately to experience many things in my life, not one of them being a cruise, ever. In fact, I vividly remember a few months before graduating college, walking with my Mom through the Riverwalk Mall in New Orleans, LA and as we passed through the food court, we could not help but be drawn to the room sized windows where a massive ship floated (I will never understand just how that works.) waiting to transport hundreds of people into the great abyss. We looked at each other and nearly at the same time said, “I never want to do anything like that.”
As it turns out, and as is often the case with those who speak in absolutes, not too long after that day in the mall, I began planning our sail date. My parents had gifted me a vacation for my undergraduate graduation and a cruise appeared to be the wisest use of my vacation funds. I decided that I would ask my two favorite people in the world, neither having been on a cruise, neither having ever wanted to go on a cruise, my mom and my Aunt Jen. Surprisingly, they decided to join me for a holiday at the sea and the memory of that week spent at sea will be one of the most colorful and beautiful ones I will remember. This is what God reminded during that week.
True pleasure, infinite joy, contentment; these cannot be found outside of the One who created us. We will not be totally, absolutely, completely satisfied until we experience and learn to long daily for deeper waters. All my life, I have seen fish in what I thought were large enough aquariums. After my adventure at sea, I understand very clearly what we miss when we remain foolishly content in our spiritual aquariums. Just like those beautiful animals, we were never meant for makeshift oceans, we were meant for the sea. Ecclesiastes reminds us that He has set eternity in our hearts. How is that we are so easily contented by the world while eternity is set in our hearts?
A.W. Tozer once said, “My cowardly heart fears to give up its toys.” So many times God has called me to deeper waters and my cowardly heart has been tempted by fear to settle for things , “toys”, that in my finite wisdom I believe will satisfy or bring me joy…or a least a little relief.
What does this look like for you? Do you trust that God has a plan, a deeper plan than you could know to ask him for or imagine on your own (Ephesians 3)? I love Paul’s timing, that as he writes this incredible passage in Ephesians 3, he is imprisoned. Do you believe that God longs to offer infinite joy to your family-- that He is sovereign over every small decision just as He is sovereign over a long wait in the wilderness or a woman’s womb, that He is sovereign over the seemingly mundane routine of your life just as He is sovereign over a loved one’s broken or hardened heart? Only His plan can redeem your past, give peace and rest in your present circumstances, and absolutely and completely fill your future with His kind of Joy and His kind of pleasure.
Do not settle for the toys of this world, for makeshift oceans. Take God up on His offer of a Holiday at Sea. Dive in and drink deeply. Trust Him and allow Him to shape the weak desires of your heart to His desires-- desires which are far more than we could ever dream up on our own.
South Alabama Case Worker