Last night in the middle of the night, I was so thirsty. My mouth was dry, and I wanted to drink and drink. So I grabbed a water bottle and did just that. I drank until my belly was so full of water that I was uncomfortable, but strangely my thirst was not quenched. It's like the water barely even touched my thirst. I tried drinking a little more, but again, it barely helped. It was interesting, because while I was drinking, it felt pretty good. It didn't feel like enough- somehow my mouth felt dry even as I was drinking-, but the fact that I could drink as much as I wanted gave me the illusion that was taking care of things, so it felt fairly good. I could ignore the weird fact that it wasn't enough when there was so much. It wasn't until I stopped drinking that I realized that the water had done nothing for my thirst, and now I also had a belly that was complaining.
Then I woke up. And realized the thirst was real. But since I was awake, I grabbed the real water that was sitting by my bed for just such emergencies. Compared to my memory of the water that did not satisfy, it was amazing how wet the water was and how quickly it took care of my desire for something to drink. Without needing so much that I got water logged.
I'm guessing you can figure out where this is going. It should be obvious. There are so many things in this world that we are currently gorging on. We are constantly taking things to the next extreme. We don't just want food, we want buffets full of choices and as much as we can eat. We don't just want sex, we want it with whomever, whenever. And if no one's available, there's a thriving porn industry. We don't just want fame, we want to be known and idolized by the world; and those of us that are not famous are happy to not only admire but idolize these famous ones. Even sports have gone from sane, team activities, to insanity that involve long, long hours in season and out of season, and at younger and younger ages. Not only that, but sports get more and more extreme.
It's not enough.
It's never enough.
We need more, always more. As long as we never stop moving, never sit in the quiet, never take a moment, we never have to acknowledge that strange feeling that so much is not enough. It's only in the quiet, in a moment where it stops, that we can see that it all for what it is: a poor substitute for what is real.
We are looking for the food and drink that truly satisfies.
We are looking for love, fulfillment, to be known for all that we truly are and accepted as such.
We are looking for a way to stretch ourselves and be the best we can be, to push our limits and to grow.
It is true that we are often doing these things wrong. We eat too much food that is bad for us, we pursue sex, whether or not there is love. We seek fame (or even just popularity) and being "known", even if it means hiding who we really are.
But even if we do it right, it's not enough.
If we eat and drink only the best, most nutritious, organic, all-natural foods, and only drink the purest water, it's not going to be enough.
Even having the most wonderful, mind-blowing sex with your spouse, and truly loving and being loved for who you are, is not enough.
Reaching the highest pinnacle of fame and success, even with people in your life that truly support you, is not enough.
Breaking all the records in your sport and doing things that no one has ever done before, is not enough.
All these things are good, and there is nothing wrong at all with pursuing them. Some of these things are very good, and even the best kinds of things this world has to offer. But we can't ever forget that they are not enough.
We need the food and drink that truly satisfies. (John 6:35)
We don't just need the love of others, we need His love. (John 15:9)
Fame, popularity, and success is not enough. We need to be known by someone that doesn't need a tweet to know what we're doing, but He knows our every little move, as well as all our thoughts (from the shallowest to the deepest). He knows us from the first to the last, and He not only still cares, but He cares all the more because He knows. (Psalm 139)
We need to remember that pushing ourselves to the limit is not ultimately about what records we can break, but it's about persevering and finishing a higher race. (Hebrews 12:1)
It's not that any of the things that we pursue here are bad, if they are in their proper context. But in and of themselves they will ultimately give no more satisfaction for what we are truly looking for than my dream water will satisfy my real thirst.