A friend of mine told me that when he had a son, he would give him a name that meant ‘My God is Enough.’ That friend did marry and have a son but tragically, when the boy was 8 months old, very unexpectedly, he died. Suddenly the boy's name took on a whole new meaning for his parent. Could God still be enough, even through this?
Last week, a beautiful, vibrant young woman who has grown up in Christian family and works full-time for a Christian Charity asked me, ‘Why am I never really fully satisfied in Christ?’ The brutal honesty momentarily stunned me. She spoke as if she had pulled back some kind of veil and revealed a truth: that while we all say ‘God is all I need’ it’s not actually true in real everyday life, is it? Once the euphoria of Sunday morning worship has worn off, are those songs words actually true?
I once felt exactly like that. I write about it in my book, how I remember looking in the mirror one day and saying to God that I didn’t believe those song words that say 'You're all I ever needed'. At the time, I believed God alone wasn’t enough and that I needed the love of another human being to be truly happy. Specifically, I wanted to meet someone (someone amazing and gorgeous, preferably), fall in love, get married and travel the world together. I wanted it so much I thought I could never be happy without it. And I thought my brutal honesty was eye-opening – a hidden truth I had just revealed. But if you ever read Looking for Love, you'll noticed this question is in the first chapter because it is not the final answer. For me, that question was the beginning.
Everything will be alright in the end...
Have you seen the movie ‘The Best Exotic Marigold Hotel?’ The owner of the hotel has this phrase and I love it. He says ‘Everything will be alright in the end. If it is not alright, then it is not the end.’ I think the same is true of our relationship with God. If you have tried to live a life that is fully satisfied in God but still remain unsatisfied – may I gently encourage you to add the word ‘yet’ to your statement: “Why is it that I am not yet fully satisfied in God?” I think if you are willing to add that one word to your question, you are halfway to finding the answer.
My next challenge would be that if you are not yet fully satisfied in God, tell Him so, then make room in your life for God to respond. Dedicate time to actively seek out your answer. Read your Bible, worship, pray, listen to podcasts, ask mature Christian friends, journal and listen.
The more I learn the less I know about before...
I hate to say it but for those of us who have been around church for a while – especially if we’ve grown up in a regular, church-going, Christian family – it’s easy to think we know it all. If we haven’t learned it by now, it must not be worth knowing. Which (forgive me) is a little bit like saying ‘I read once Bible verse once and concluded that Christianity is nonsense.’
It’s not like that! I hear you say. Oh but it is! I reply.
What is it the Bible says about us? – that we are like dust (Psalm 103:14-18), we come and we go like the grass in the field but the Word of God remains forever (Isaiah 40:6-8). God does not just live forever, His character is also infinite. He is the I AM (Exodus 3:13). He is infinitely wonderful and awesome and mysterious and deep and unfathomable and indescribable. He is so infinitely interesting. So much so that we will spend eternity in his presence and never get bored. Every day in eternity, there will be new wonders of God to behold. Like the 24 elders of Revelation who spend their eternity worshipping God, bowing down to Him (Revelation 4:9-11). Worship is the outpouring of the revelation of God in our lives – it is our natural response when we see or learn or read or experience something about God that either we didn’t know already or that moves us to praise him. And it appears throughout the book of Revelation that worship is practically a 24-7 state in heaven. So in heaven, there will always be something to amaze us and cause us to respond in worship, bowing down before the Almighty. Our relationship with God will not become static just because we’ve died and gone to heaven. It will forever be a dynamic moving relationship where we learn and discover and experience more of Him.
If that is true for 10,000 years from now, then how much more true might it be today? How much more of God is there that we have not yet experienced or learned or understood or been revealed to yet?
Remember when you were a kid...
I remember when I started to read the Bible from cover to cover as a young adult. Starting at Genesis, I couldn’t believe how much they miss out in the Children’s Bible Stories. I thought I knew most of the Old Testament because I had learned it in Sunday school. But the 5 year old version of David and Goliath doesn’t tell you that the stone embedded itself in Goliath’s forehead and that David chops Goliath's head off! You just think a big giant got knocked over by a pebble and the big army ran away – the end. No. Not the end. There was more! Reading the Bible as an adult was fascinating – I began to see significance in the small details that go over your head as a child, or get missed out altogether. I saw patterns and threads and connections that was a puzzle too big for a child’s brain.
Two possible reasons...
Perhaps God is not enough right now because you are relying on the faith and knowledge and experience of God that you received as a child? Perhaps, there is more to know, deeper to go, experiences yet to go through that will prove to you that God is enough. Are you willing to make space for God to find out?
Or perhaps it is because you’ve never been in that place where the only thing left to sustain you has been your faith and hope in an invisible, ever-present God? Like the time Jesus preached a difficult lesson and the majority of his followers walked away and stopped following Him; Jesus asked the twelve who remained 'Will you leave me too?' And they answered 'Lord, to whom shall we go? You have the words of eternal life. We have come to believe and to know that you are the Holy One of God.” (John 6:60-69) They didn't always know and believe that. They had come to believe it through their time with Jesus. They had come to believe that He alone could sustain them when everything else fails.
For my friends who lost their 8-month old son, they navigated a storm I have never had to face and I pray you or I will never have to. But through it all, their son’s name was a reminder to them – that no matter what, God is enough.
We might think that it is easy to say ‘My God is Enough’ when things are going well. But I think it is easy to doubt that ‘My God is Enough’ when things are going well.
The Gift or the Giver?
Because it is easy to become reliant on the good things around you. The good gifts of God can begin to replace the role of God, the giver, in your life. Before we know it we find ourselves saying ‘I need these things too Lord.’ But strangely, it seems to be that when the good things are stripped away, true faith is revealed. When the things you thought you needed simply don’t exist anymore, that’s where we can learn the true meaning of ‘God is Enough’.
My friends navigated that storm with a powerful story that I hope they will one day will be put in writing for everyone to read. Because when they say ‘My God is Enough’ they mean not just in the good times, but when there is nothing left to hold onto or sustain you, in the darkest moments of the valley of the shadow of death, God has proven Himself to be enough. We don’t have to learn this the hard way. Let’s not fall into the trap of confusing the gifts with the giver.
In Looking for Love, you'll read that God did eventually give me a husband but it was not to replace God’s role in my life as my Source, my Saviour and my Provider. My husband was a gift from the Giver, the God who is able to meet all my needs and when I doubt that, I remember that there is still so much more of God for me to discover and there is always something new to learn.