It is interesting living here in Africa. All the things that we are used to doing to fill our time have been removed and it has left a bit of a hole. And it is good to feel the hole, because the hole indicates that other things have been used as putty for the things of the soul. When you can't watch football, eat the food you want to, or go see friends or really go anywhere, when all the things that you used to seek to satisfy has been removed, where do you go? This is why I love the book "The Art of Divine Contentment" because it challenging my heart and my mind and revealing where I look for satisfaction in this world. God is enough. God was indeed preparing me to leave America, but it is still shocking to find in my soul an emptiness that God longs to fill as the only true source of joy and satisfaction. If all has been removed, is Jesus enough? I read a great sermon by John Piper today and here is a must read quote:
"...knowing God and being satisfied in him above all earthly pleasures frees us for the kind of love that will suffer the loss of all things for the sake of every good deed and for the sake of finishing the great commission. The great commission will not be finished without martyrs (Revelation 6:11). And churches will not make God look like our all-sufficient, all-satisfying treasure if pastors and people have all the same values and priorities and lifestyle commitments that everybody around them has. Unless we become a lot more radical in the risks we take and the suffering we embrace, why should anyone believe that our treasure is in heaven - in God - and that he is more valuable than anything here? The key is being utterly certain and utterly satisfied that "in his presence is fullness of joy and at his right hand are pleasures for evermore" (Psalm 16:11). Or as Paul said, that "to live is Christ and to die is gain" (Philippians 1:21). This is the key to the sacrifices demanded by love."
When my kids are sick, when my heart is despondent, when I feel lonely or discouraged or sad, when the days seem long and my productivity short, I can, I must find my fullness of joy in His presence alone. He is enough. He is the source of life, he is life.
That is the challenge, the gamble of missions and suffering and risk, the assumption that is being questioned when someone asks, "Is Jesus worth enough to sustain and satisfy?" Yes, give me nothing and give me Jesus and he is enough for now to forevermore.
John Piper writes,
"Where does the love come from that can suffer the loss of all things and make plain to the world that God is gloriously more to be desired than life itself? It comes from being certain and being satisfied that God is a better possession than all our goods, and that the reward of his presence is vastly better than the fleeting pleasures of Egypt (this world), and that the suffering of our cross is not worth comparing to the joy set before us, and that the city which is to come will last forever and will be the habitation of God."
This is a reminder foremost to me, that not only is Jesus enough, He is the treasure and the pearl of great price. He is everything.
"The greatest need of every pastor and every missionary is to know God better than they know anything and enjoy God more than they enjoy anything." John Piper