Text: Isaiah 44:1-28, Isaiah 45:1-25, Romans 14:10-11, Revelation 22:12-13
After countless rave reviews, I just had to see the modern-day movie musical La La Land. Actors Ryan Gosling and Emma Stone were charming as per usual, and as they sang and danced across the screen, the audience seemed to buzz along with the energy of the film’s message: Don’t settle. Chase your dreams. Pursue your passions. Follow your heart.
It’s a message that speaks to our deepest longings. We want to cry out in unison, “Yes! This!” We want a life lived to the fullest.
We all have dreams and desires. Our heavenly Father knows the longings of our hearts just as surely as He knows the number of hairs on our heads (Luke 12:7). But our hearts can lead us astray (Jeremiah 17:9). It can be a struggle to know if our desires are from the Lord or from our brokenness.
As a counselor, I often hear people say, “If I just had _____, I would be happy.” You can fill in that blank with a job, a possession, a relationship, or any number of different things. We’ve all fallen prey to this way of thinking.
The trouble with putting all your hopes for happiness in a dream is that the dream will, at some point, fall short of what it promises. You get the new job, and six months later you feel restless again. You start a promising relationship, but still feel a crushing loneliness. You lose the weight, but still struggle to see your beauty and worth.
We are always unsatisfied when we look to this world to satisfy us. Only God can satisfy our desires for peace, justice, and beauty. Only God can fulfill His promises. We create idols when we worship people or jobs or dreams, as if they have the power to save us.
Why do we still ache for what God has already promised? Because we live in a fallen world. We cry out to the Lord for justice where we see injustice, and for peace where we see strife. As C.S. Lewis said, “If we find ourselves with a desire that nothing in this world can satisfy, the most probable explanation is that we were made for another world.” We feel unsatisfied because ultimately we are longing for heaven, where we will be in the presence of Christ.
Our hearts are made for the new heaven and new earth, where all of God’s promises will be perfected. But even in this present time, we get a taste of heaven because we live in a time of “already and not yet.” God has already defeated death but His full plan has not yet reached its great culmination. God has already fulfilled His promises in the coming of Christ, yet we still live in a broken world that leaves us feeling unsatisfied. God has already executed justice for all, and yet injustice will linger in this world until He comes again.
When you feel tempted to look for satisfaction outside of God, remember that your loving Father is the only one who can fulfill your heart’s desires. There is no god besides Yahweh (Isaiah 44:6). For now we live within the tension of this temporal world and our eternal home, but the Lord has fulfilled His promises in Jesus and He will come again to set all things right.
“Behold, I am coming soon, bringing my recompense with me, to repay each one for what he has done. I am the Alpha and the Omega, the first and the last, the beginning and the end.”
Kaitie Stoddard is a professional counselor who recently relocated from Chicago to Colorado with her husband. She has her Master’s degree in Clinical Psychology and is passionate about helping couples and families find healing in their relationships. On any given weekend you’re likely to find Katie snowboarding in the Rocky Mountains, checking out new restaurants with friends, or catching up on her favorite Netflix and podcast series.