The journey to what we desire is often full of adventure, hope, expectation, pleasure, etc... But once we finally get to it, we get that horrible let down, and wonder "Is this it?" and "What's next." It seems all roads lead to dead ends, that is why famous and rich people who reach the top are depressed and some even commit suicide. Only God is infinate, only in Him is there no dead ends. And even
in my pursuit of Him, I constently hope that my refreshing is going to last and I get full of passion and desire and only run into a invisible brick wall.
I was smiling and joking around while playing pool one day and I noticed how the joy I had was like a piece of paper covering my miserable soul and down cast heart. My smiling face was like a paper-thin mask and behind it I felt empty and hollow; I was not enjoying myself at all. At that time the difference of external joy and internal joy was so clear. I have experienced a Joy that comes from deep within; that is radiant and full and evident even in the mist of bad circumstances. But the external joy I was experiencing was so empty compared to the internal life I had in the past. Because I have tasted better, I was ruined for what I was experiencing at that time.
I have discovered that many people have never had that internal joy, so they settle for the shallow paper-thin joys. Living for the weekend, the party, hanging out with friends, going to a movies with their friends, etc...(symbolized by the mask). Yet, if they are unable to have this, they absorb themselves in their escapes, like TV, sleeping, drugs, porn and video games (symbolized by the guy on the left sleeping at 1pm). Others are always working to make more money, thinking that new things will satisfy them and make them happy, or trying to become popular, striving for fame and riches (symbolized by the man chasing the wind). If the mask and the escapes are all stripped away they feel empty and miserable; with a guilt and shame that they cannot understand. They have so many questions and wounds inflicted by their parents and others, they feel fragile and broken (all of this is symbolized in the face by the question mark, the scare, the fragile leaves, the empty head and the tears). And who wants to feel like this? No one, so we are very quick to put back on our mask of paper thin joys, or get absorbed in our escapes.
On the left we see a man who thinks he is fine and has need of nothing; he is looking in the mirror and sees himself as well off. But spiritually he is wretched, miserable, naked, poor and blind. On the right side we have a man without anything but the very basic provisions, and the WORD of God and he is overflowing with joy and life, though he is in the desert of bad circumstances. It is true the most lifeless people I have met have been the rich and among the most alive have been the very poor or homeless for whom everything has gone wrong, and yet have just found Christ.
I can live for the here and now
And later loose it all, and waste my life
Or I can live for eternity and invest it all
And later gain all things
But I must learn to die, to die to myself,
If I am to truly live
You have shown me there is more then getting a good education
To get a good job, and make plenty of money
You have shown me there is more then getting a wife
To have a nice family,
These are only to be tools to advance your kingdom
Whether I have these at all, Lord it is up to you
These are only to be tools to advance your kingdom
These are not the things I am to pursue
For after such thing lost people seek,
and they are chasing after wind
Only what You do Lord is eternal and of any value at all
To live for myself is to settle for vanity, and to waste my little life
I should only seek to advance your kingdom
And to know you more intimately
Jesus You said if I try to find my life I would loose it
But if I loose my life for you,
I would find it here and now and later and forever and ever
From an earthly perspective, some can't understand why I am still a Christian. To them it does not make sense, when I talk about God playing hard to get, when I share how God has seemed hidden and silent. How hope detoured makes the heart sick and how hope at times has indeed soured and now sits uneasy in me. Indeed God for mysterious reasons has refused to do what I long for Him to do, though what I want is part of revealed will for me. So then, why? Why would I endure? Would it not just be easier to reject God and live my own life?
Well, yes and no, and the yes part is not all that great in my opinion, (and that is what I will focus on here) It would just mean I could be unconcerned with morality, I could party on Bourbon St and look at porn in all my free time and feel no shame about it, and I would not need to watch my thoughts or concern myself with responding in loving ways, I would not need to turn the other cheek and forgive those who wrong me.
But though I would be 'free' to be 'human' (selfish), I still would not be able to find satisfaction in my obsession with having more pleasure and obtaining the possession I covet. People would still let me down and I would still have bad moods and emotions. And honestly, the vices that provide escape only bring more of the very misery we are trying to escape from! Freedom to sin without guilt may seems great, but it will catch up with us and not only will it destroy us but hurt those we care about. In the Lion, Witch and the Wardrobe, Edmon really did enjoy the Turkish delight, but that pleasure only led to unfulfilled desire and he became a prisoner and even betrayed of his brother and sisters.
So why would I want this? After all, I can't find anyone in this world whom I envy!
Envy the wealthy? Are you kidding me! Envy the famous? They still are empty, their lives are falling apart, and honestly their misery is greater then mine. If we have no mouth and thus are starving to death, would you want see a buffet of food in front of you? It is far greater torture to be dying from thirst while surrounded by water and yet not being able to drink! Celebrities can buy whatever they want, but cannot find fulfillment. I do not envy that!
Envy a those with a great mind and a good intellect? Even they are blind and what they see is from a limited perspective and colored by their presuppositions and assumptions, nevertheless they become so proud and influential that often their ideas bring a whole civilization crashing down. And then the generations which follow will have intellectuals who will show how they were wrong and thus it will continue. And anyways knowledge can't save ones soul! They are still slaves to their desires and are riddled with issues brought on from their selfishness and the selfishness of those around them.
Envy those with power? What! No authority or force can make people love each other, no earthly power can bring lasting peace. It can't change a heart or rid humanity of selfishness. And finally, power does not like to be possessed, it wants to possess, we may think they have it, but it has them and though they will weld power over others, they have no power over themselves, and most will let power do its work and breeding such a arrogant, elitist attitude, that they begin to prefer themselves over a nation and thus cause the demise of the land due to greed and corruption.
Envy those with artistic talent? Well, I have some of that already and I can tell you straight up, is does not make one whole! And I would trade it all in a moment for intimacy with God and self-control.