When I visited with my girlfriend last Saturday, we reminisced about our college days when we memorized the Westminster Catechism together. (Yes, we were nerds.) We smiled over the fact that both of us, twenty years later, still have our flashcards in the top drawers of our desks.
So when I got home, I pulled out that old set of flashcards. Yellowed and worn, smudged with coffee stains and crumbs, the familiar words were a bedrock of hope--the anchor of my soul which is both sure and steadfast (Hebrews 6:19).
"What is the chief end of man?" the first question asks.
(NOTE: my girlfriend and I memorized the old-timey version in tiny print below the paraphrase. If you squint, you can read it.)
"Man's chief end is to glorify God, and to enjoy him for ever" comes the resounding response.
(Or, as John Piper so eloquently amends, "Man's chief end is to glorify God BY enjoying him forever.")
Question: Why am I here? (Why are you here?)
Answer: To glorify and enjoy God.
To be SATISFIED in Him.
My "chief end" or reason for existence is not, as I sometimes think, to have a perfect life, like all those status updates in my Facebook news feed of smiling families with happy marriages and well-behaved children and adorable pets, posting pics of family vacations and cute kids. (Disclaimer: I do love all of you, Facebook friends. And I'm truly happy for you. But sometimes I have to take a break from my Facebook news feed because it makes my reality so raw. And it makes me ache for something more. Something that feels so palpably MISSING.)
As Ann Voskamp writes in her book One Thousand Gifts,
"Our fall was, has always been, and always will be, that we aren't satisfied in God and what He gives. We hunger for something more, something other."
These past few months, I've been wrestling with what it means to fully satisfied in God. Not to be satisfied in my marriage (which came to a shocking end). Or in my accomplishments (which aren't that much). Not even in my ministry as a pastor's wife (which was taken away) or the children I love immeasurably.
But what does it mean to be satisfied in God Himself? In God plus nothing? To fall on your face in worship, like Job, when your world falls apart and proclaim, "Naked I came from my mother's womb, and naked I shall return there. The Lord gave and the Lord has taken away. Blessed be the name of the Lord" (1:21)?
It comes down to this: if I never again have a husband... if all the people who are precious to me were snatched away... if I lost everything here on earth...
Is Jesus enough?
YES! my soul cries out from the deepest place where truth lives.
And NO! my heart protests, when the waves of grief crash around me, when I am confronted with stark reminders of what I no longer have, when life just flat-out doesn't make sense.
I'm not there yet. But I'm limping into the arms of my heavenly Father every day, asking Him to help me look past the What-Might-Have-Beens and the Missing Things in order to be fully satisfied in Him.
The Lord will continually guide you and satisfy your soul in scorched places... (Isaiah 58:11)