Right now I’m laying on our king-size bed in the Cheshire Cat Inn in Santa Barbara. We’ve been on our little trip for almost exactly 24 hours and it’s been wonderful. Here’s a quick list with a few (not all) of the things I’ve already enjoyed in the last day:
- Beautiful drive
- Great coffee
- Delicious Sauvignon Blanc and hors d’oeuvres
- Relaxing garden with a great book
- Incredible dinner in the Santa Barbara harbor
- A warm jacuzzi tub
- Sumptuous breakfast accompanied by more great coffee
- Awesome engagement shoot with a wonderful couple
- Every part dramatically enhanced by sharing it with my lovely bride
There’s the snapshot. That is certainly not everything and I’m confident that there’s much more good stuff to come! As a result, my mind has also been drawn to the many blessings I enjoy day in and day out. My life is filled with innumerable treasures and joys. Oh how sweet to stop and remember them!
And yet, something keeps nagging me. There is one question which continually comes back to mind: Would I still be content without all of these blessings?
The truth is that, at any moment, these things that I’ve so contented myself with could be taken from me. My world could flip upside down in an instant – a car accident, a phone call, a conversation. Psalm 18:2 draws me back to my only constant:
The LORD is my rock and my fortress and my deliverer, my God, my rock, in whom I take refuge, my shield, and the horn of my salvation, my stronghold.
If the gospel is one blessing in my life among many, I will live an unstable life. Anytime I lose one of my other treasures, I’ll become inconsolable. The good news of Christ’s coming to live my life and die my death must be central to my existence and my joy. My earthly blessings will certainly desert me, Christ will not.
Let me illustrate this in the most poignant way I can: my wife. Kristin is the greatest blessing I have. And yet even if we live a long and happy life together, one day she’ll die. If that day comes before my death, then I will be deserted. I can’t make her the foundation for my existence or I will crumble as my foundation gives way. In light of this reality, I can’t make her the central spot from which I derive joy and find meaning. She is not enough to sustain me, only God is. And because of His mercy, she knows that.
After reading this, you may be thinking: “So how on earth am I supposed to enjoy anything? Should I just become a monk, forsaking all relationships and blessings so that I can focus all of my attention on God?” My answer is a resounding no. Let me offer a couple of suggestions that will hopefully benefit all of us.
- Make the gospel the seat of your joy. The good news is so good that if you continue to explore all of its facets, you will see that the wonder of it never ends. Because God is so glorious and so gracious, His loving acts in your life will never cease to amaze you. Even the age to come will have us still marveling at God’s grace toward weary sinners like us.
- Enjoy God’s many blessings. Continue drawing yourself back to the gospel and you will be able to enjoy your earthly blessings in a healthy way. The Preacher recommends it in Ecclesiastes 9:7 – Go, eat your bread with joy, and drink your wine with a merry heart, for God has already approved what you do. Since God approves you in Christ, you may freely enjoy His blessings. If and when they are taken away, you will not crumble because your joy is in God. He never crumbles.
My prayer is that the gospel sinks deeper and deeper into your heart, captivating you more and more. As it does, you will find an anchor in the storms of our ever-changing lives.
May God’s peace reign in your heart through Christ Jesus, our Rock!
For His glory and fame,