(I Can’t Get No) Satisfaction

“Creatures are not born with desires unless satisfaction for those desires exists. A baby feels hunger: well, there is such a thing as food. A duckling wants to swim: well, there is such a thing as water. Men feel sexual desire: well, there is such a thing as sex. If I find in myself a desire which no experience in this world can satisfy, the most probable explanation is that I was made for another world. If none of my earthly pleasures satisfy it, that does not prove that the universe is a fraud. Probably earthly pleasures were never meant to satisfy it, but only to arouse it, to suggest the real thing.” C.S. Lewis from Mere Christianity

When Mick Jagger of the Rolling Stones sang, “I can’t get no satisfaction” I doubt he was thinking theologically. Nonetheless, the song makes a good theological point. Satisfaction, in this world, is hard to come by. Whatever satisfaction we may find, it doesn’t last. Take the simplest desire, the desire for food. We can satisfy that desire, but only for a time. I eat, and before long I am hungry again. Most, if not all, of our desires function in that same way. Whatever satisfaction we obtain it is finite, of short duration, just like everything else in this world.

One of the greater gifts that God has given to humanity is to place us in a finite world with desires that can only obtain finite, short-lived, satisfaction. This gift keeps us looking. It keeps us in the search for that which truly satisfies. And so, as Augustine so aptly put it, “You have made us for yourself, O Lord, and our heart is restless until it finds its rest in you.”



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