Life is unsatisfactory. There’s no two ways about it; it just is, and the fact that there’s no way out of this condition is even more unsatisfactory and frustrating. Everyone feels this feeling. No matter how much money we make, no matter what kind of car, boat, house, or whatever we have, there will always be something missing. Subconsciously or not, we are always reaching for something that we think will be it, the thing that will finally satisfy us and be the fulfillment of our lives. We throw money, time, and effort into filling the void, but to no avail. Every hobby we have, every craft beer we drink, and commodity with which we distract ourselves gives us only a temporary escape from reality, but we always come back to the same place of emptiness and brokenness.
This cycle can be incredibly destructive. It can drive us into complete interior desolation while keeping our outer appearance flawless which makes us feel even more isolated and useless. We use our possessions as a mask, keeping those who might see the mess inside at arms length, leaving no chance for love to grow. To love someone means to meet them at their brokenness and to allow ourselves to be met by others in our own mess. People are people, and people are imperfect and messy. The only thing that can ever come close to filling the great chasm of the human condition is love. Material goods won’t do it – the iPhone X won’t bring us happiness, a BMW or a Mercedes won’t earn us true friendship, and the perfect dream house won’t make us feel at home.
The truth is that as long as we are on Earth, we will never feel at home; that’s because we aren’t. We’re on a pilgrim journey until the day that we find rest in the true satisfaction and the total fulfillment of God’s perfect love. Through Christ, we are invited into the human experience of suffering with the promise that the crosses which we bear during our lifetimes will be hoisted atop Calvary alongside the one true cross which brings us salvation. During our pilgrim journey, we are not called to consume, we are called to love. To love is to give, and to give is to spread the gifts of God to those whom we meet along the way so that they too might come to know the reason for our worldly dissatisfaction, and to be loved in their despair. With guidance from the Holy Spirit, we can make the world a little less unsatisfactory by coming to peace with our own human condition and realizing that we are destined for something far greater than any temporal, earthly experience.
Being a Christian is not about being happy all the time. Sometimes life just sucks. Being a Christian is recognizing what we have been given from God, through Christ and how that changes our perception. We are in need of a savior, but not because Heaven is way better than Earth, and the only way to get there is by paying our dues and waiting in the “salvation line”. It’s because we are incomplete without a savior; we aren’t ourselves until we can be completely unified with God in his love for us. We are the imperfect, suffering children of our fallen parents, and until our hearts can be perfected by God himself, we will be in despair. Our responsibility on this pilgrim journey is to form our hearts to that of Christ so that we too may come to know the perfection and peace of God and may one day see him face-to-face in glory where all we will know is complete and perfect satisfaction.
The best we can do in this life is to recognize that we can’t buy our way to happiness and that no amount of anything from Earth will us bring peace. The best we can do in this life is to place our faith in the Lord and to know that, in the end, we will find true and perfect happiness. The best we can do in this life is to enter into loving, personal relationships with others. When we do this, we will be given a foretaste of the ultimate love of God; without this foretaste, there is no hope. With it, however, we will enter into the earthly rendition of divine peace brought to us through the incarnation of God in Christ Jesus.