Surface Sole Satisfaction or Sustained Soul Satisfaction
by Mary Alice McGinnis
Ponder this question today. What are you looking to in order to feel good again, to feel happy again, to feel alive again, and to feel fully satisfied?
Are you looking to things that will provide surface sole satisfaction for a need you are experiencing?
Is it a physical need? That feeling you get when you crave some delicious food? (Full disclosure, as I am writing, I find myself spooning out several large scoops of peanut butter straight from the jar.)
Maybe it is a craving for something material to make us feel better, like shopping on Amazon. (Regular deliveries to my house.)
Maybe it is a true physical need. The need for relief from pain or physical suffering from sickness or disease.
Or maybe the need to feel like Is it a social need? The need for justice, the need for peace, or just a longing to feel like life is good again.
Here is the cycle I see.
Do you see this cycle in today’s reading? Jesus had just done a miracle of feeding the 5,000 earlier in John 6. He crossed over the Sea of Galilee during a storm (walking on water and then miraculously taking the disciples and their boat to the other side).
Some of those who had seen Jesus feed the 5,000 or perhaps some who only heard about it, were experiencing some discomfort. In one sense, their bellies began to be hungry again. But in another sense, they were feeling the discomfort of living in a broken world. Many were hungry, destitute, or sick. They were under the oppressive rule of the Romans. Their deep desire was for life to be better! They longed for a Messiah to provide relief for them.
They craved it like a ravenously, hungry wild animal.
This hunger drove them to seek relief. When Jesus does this miracle, they think, maybe He is this Messiah we are looking for. They were seeking Him to address the sole thing(s) they thought they needed to make life good again. Relief from (fill in the blank). They sought Him to be their “Bread King,” to fill their bellies with only a temporary surface satisfaction.
We do this too, don’t we? Don’t we find ourselves ravenously seeking some sort of relief from our pain, discomfort, and our deepest desires?
We seek a quick fix, immediate gratification, deliverance from some false savior.
But what happens? As soon as we grab hold of what we thought would bring us sole satisfaction, the rush of that “high” wears off, our bellies start to ache again, and our haunting hungers return, often with a vengeance.
We realize our false saviors cannot deliver us, and we sink into dissatisfaction, disappointment, and disillusionment.
Then the cycle repeats.
But Jesus offers us something different.
First He tells us: “Do not work for food that spoils, but for food that endures to eternal life, which the Son of Man will give you.”
Then He says, “I am the bread of life. Whoever comes to me will never go hungry, and whoever believes in me will never be thirsty.”
His deliverance is once and for all! It is not surface, superficial or temporary. He offers us sustained EVERLASTING satisfaction that reaches the depths of our souls.
Know this. While we are living in this broken world, those moments of cravings, when we are seeking satisfaction and relief from discomfort will come. We will experience moments when the ravenous hunger for satisfaction will strike. Why not - right in that moment - take that need, that discomfort, that place of desiring relief, even that point of dissatisfaction, to the only ONLY TRUE Savior who can deliver us! Jesus is the BREAD OF LIFE - who alone can sustain and satisfy your hungry soul FOREVER.
Lord, I surrender to You right now all the places where I have been seeking satisfaction for my soul's desires in other places, other than You. I surrender my need to try to fill those empty places with immediate gratification. I release to You those temporary saviors I have often grasped and embraced. They will always leave me feeling dissatisfied, disappointment me, and lead me to disillusionment. I give to You, Lord, my famished heart, and ask You to fill me. You alone can DELIVER ME! You alone are the Bread of Life.