I read today (June 1, 2010) that Al & Tipper Gore are separating after 40 years of marriage. It makes you wonder after 4 decades of marriage what went wrong.
I don’t want to dig into the marriage of the Gore’s, but found it a point to meditate on. These two individuals (regardless of your view of their politics or ideologies) have led successful public lives. Al Gore was one heartbeat away from the Presidency of the United States for 8 years. He has won a Nobel Prize and an Academy Award. He and His wife have served in public office for several decades. What in their lives on a personal level could leave them unfulfilled to the point that ending a 40 year marriage seemed like a good idea?
I want to raise the question with you – are you fulfilled in your life or are you simply going through the motions each day? Is there a meaning or purpose behind what you do or have you simply become accustomed to the routine of your life? Are you passionate about your life or are you simply living up to other expectations?
Most people die having never fulfilled their dreams. Someone once said the graveyard is the wealthiest place on earth; filled with dreams and visions.
“Most men lead lives of quiet desperation and go to the grave with the song still in them“ (Henry David Thoreau)
Each of us has tried to fill the void of purpose in our lives with something. Here are some common attempts:
- A Cause
Some of us are afraid to slow down because if or when we do we realize that we are empty and lonely. Some of us constantly reach out to people. We crave interaction, even bad relationships because we do not want to be alone. Some of us are project oriented or goal oriented always looking to set a new record, build a better something or achieve at a higher level. Some of us are thrill oriented always needing something more than we have or something better than we have already experienced. Others live their lives for a cause, losing themselves in helping others.
The truth is there are a lot of lonely people in the world and you may be one of them.
Fulfillment, passion and ultimately peace can only come from God. We can temporarily achieve each of these things through our own efforts; some solutions will last longer than others, but eventually the thrill will be gone. When it leaves you will once again be alone.
You may burn out or you may top out, but there will come a time when your support system or your props will no longer be there to support you. The time always comes for you to evaluate who you really are. Each of us has those moments when it is just you and God alone. It may be in the dark of your bedroom or the silence of your car, but the moments come. They come when we have achieved great victory or accomplishment as we try to put perspective into our lives. They come when we go through loss or pain, searching for the answers to the question “why?”
- Why do 40 year marriages disappear and dissolve?
- Why do highly successful entertainers have self-destructive habits?
- Why do people maintain the cycle of abusive and destructive relationships?
- Why is success unable to satisfy?
- Why are we always left wanting more, even after we have just gone to another level of excess?
- How can people be lonely in crowds or feel unloved in seemingly functional families?
- Why can we search several hundred channels and say “there is nothing on”?
At the most basic level – what we are looking for is not there. We search for fulfillment, peace or love in places or people who cannot provide what we need.
You and I are broken from birth. We came into this world needing repair and until we are fixed no thing or no one will ever satisfy us.
John chapter 4 tells the story of a Samaritan woman, living in the city of Sychar. Her interaction with Jesus is below:
Jesus left Judea and started for Galilee again. This time he had to go through Samaria, and on his way he came to the town of Sychar. It was near the field that Jacob had long ago given to his son Joseph. The well that Jacob had dug was still there, and Jesus sat down beside it because he was tired from traveling. It was noon, and after Jesus’ disciples had gone into town to buy some food, a Samaritan woman came to draw water from the well.
Jesus asked her, “Would you please give me a drink of water?”
“You are a Jew,” she replied, “and I am a Samaritan woman. How can you ask me for a drink of water when Jews and Samaritans won’t have anything to do with each other?”Jesus answered, “You don’t know what God wants to give you, and you don’t know who is asking you for a drink. If you did, you would ask me for the water that gives life.”
“Sir,” the woman said, “you don’t even have a bucket, and the well is deep. Where are you going to get this life-giving water? Our ancestor Jacob dug this well for us, and his family and animals got water from it. Are you greater than Jacob?”
Jesus answered, “Everyone who drinks this water will get thirsty again. But no one who drinks the water I give will ever be thirsty again. The water I give is like a flowing fountain that gives eternal life.”
The woman replied, “Sir, please give me a drink of that water! Then I won’t get thirsty and have to come to this well again.”
Jesus told her, “Go and bring your husband.”
The woman answered, “I don’t have a husband.”
“That’s right,” Jesus replied, “you’re telling the truth. You don’t have a husband. You have already been married five times, and the man you are now living with isn’t your husband.”
The woman said, “Sir, I can see that you are a prophet. My ancestors worshiped on this mountain, but you Jews say Jerusalem is the only place to worship.” Jesus said to her:
“Believe me, the time is coming when you won’t worship the Father either on this mountain or in Jerusalem. You Samaritans don’t really know the one you worship. But we Jews do know the God we worship, and by using us, God will save the world. But a time is coming, and it is already here! Even now the true worshipers are being led by the Spirit to worship the Father according to the truth. These are the ones the Father is seeking to worship him. God is Spirit, and those who worship God must be led by the Spirit to worship him according to the truth. “
The woman said, “I know that the Messiah will come. He is the one we call Christ. When he comes, he will explain everything to us.”
“I am that one,” Jesus told her, “and I am speaking to you now.”
Jesus offers to give this woman life giving or living water that would cause her never to thirst again. That is an amazing offering. It reminds me a lot of Psalm 23:1:
The Lord is my shepherd; I have everything I need.
It is obvious from the narrative that this woman had been searching in her life. She had been through five husbands and was working on number six. There remained a thirst in her life that could not be quenched. There remained loneliness in her life that a husband could not remove.
- Religion won’t satisfy your thirst, not even Christian religion
- Relationships won’t replace your loneliness, not even great relationships
- Success won’t provide lasting satisfaction, your heart will eventually demand more
Jesus’ offering is simple – living water that satisfies thirst and gives eternal life. It sounds very simple, but God wants to put Himself inside of you; filling you up.
I don’t know where you are in your life, but chances are you are thirsty for something beyond yourself. There are many things or people you can use to try and satisfy your thirst but only Jesus can do it.
Your life does not have to be lonely – Christ can come and live inside of you.
Your life does not have to remain thirsty – Living Water can satisfy your soul.
All around the world people are trying. Deserted souls cry to be filled.
Spirits left undone their hearts are hollow. I can see, in their eyes, hollow lives.
And every heart, and every soul and everybody’s got a God-shaped hole.
You may have tried to fill that hole inside with an empty hand you reached in vain.
Substitutes don’t work, bandages only hurt. The only thing that heals is the hand of God.
Nobody’s meant to be left all alone. Our lives are much too short to have an empty soul. (Audio Adrenaline)
So the remedy to the inner ache of loneliness is Jesus Christ. In your searching reach out to Jesus; He wants to satisfy your thirst. My prayer for you is that you would return to God, the source of all life, to find meaning for your life. Until you do you will go from temporary fix to temporary fix.
Don’t be left lonely at the end of a successful life; call out to Jesus today.