We live in unusual and troubling days. I’m reminded of Thomas Paine’s comment in 1776: “These are the times that try men’s souls.” Granted, our culture today is quite different from that of the 18th century, but Paine’s statement certainly resonates with people who are very concerned about the direction of our country. For example, we are seeing our First Amendment rights under assault by media corporations, big tech companies, and government officials attempting to undermine freedom of speech and, as much as possible, remove the biblical principles upon which our nation was founded.
Yet, while we have great concern for our country, Christians do not have to fear the future. We have God’s very presence, power, and provision in our lives every moment of every day! Of course, we must constantly call to mind the clear teaching of Scripture about God’s sovereign control over all things so that we are not distracted by the vast confusion of our culture. Sadly, many people today search for answers to their questions and solutions for their fears in places other than God’s Word. And that’s like living in a Swiss village but staring at the wooden figurines in the window rather than lifting our eyes to the stunning beauty of the snow-capped mountains and ravines in the distance!
The reality is that our souls shrivel when we try to satisfy them on anything less than God Himself, as revealed through His Son Jesus Christ. This, undoubtedly, is what led 17th century philosopher and mathematician Blaise Pascal to speak of an infinite abyss in humans that “can be filled only with an infinite and immutable object; in other words, by God himself.” Yes, we were meant to live for His glory and, thus, fulfill the very purpose of our lives. Why would anyone settle for less?
Ponder this: We have the opportunity to know the Creator of this universe, seek Him with all our heart, and hear from Him in His Word. May we pray with King David, “O God, you are my God; earnestly I seek you; my soul thirsts for you; my flesh faints for you, as in a dry and weary land where there is no water” (Psalm 63:1). In another place David declares, “I waited patiently for the Lord; he inclined to me and heard my cry… He put a new song in my mouth, a song of praise to our God” (Psalm 40:1, 3). Oh, the joy of seeking the Lord and gazing on His beauty through His Word!
Troubled soul or satisfied soul? It all depends on where you fix your gaze.