Is This All There Is? – Part 2 — Morning Devotions - Hope 103.2

Is This All There Is? – Part 2 — Morning Devotions

The empty self is a state in which a person needs outside forces in order to build identity, feel connected, whole, and progressive. - Philip Cushman

By Chris WittsThursday 21 Dec 2023Morning Devotions with Chris WittsFaithReading Time: 1 minute

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I hope that you’re OK today. Yesterday morning, I asked the question, “is this all there is?” –  talking about Peggy Lee’s song back in 1969. ‘Is this all there is‘ a sense of what is going on in my life? Is there anything more? And I like Philip Cushman’s comments. Philip Cushman’s a psychologist. He talks about the empty life. He said it’s filled up with consumer goods, calories, experiences, politicians, romantic partners and therapists.

(Is This All There Is? – Part 1 — Morning Devotions)

And he says the empty self-experiences are an absence of community tradition and shared meaning. It’s a lack of worth and conviction, and it can be seen as a chronic emotional hunger. Well, that’s quite deep stuff, isn’t it? But I think he’s right, and there’s a sense in which we all cry out for meaning. There’s an inner restlessness that I think we can’t put our finger on, and yet we know deep down that there’s got to be more to life than wealth, family or even long life or a simple life or philosophy. But do you know that God has not made us to find rest in those things. So we have songs that we know and songs we love. Songs that search for meaning in life.

The Search for Meaning

You might have listened to the Man of La Mancha, for example, that popular song, The Impossible Dream. You kind of get goose bumps or I do when you hear old Don Quixote singing about the unreachable star in the song ‘The Impossible Dream’. So think about it, the unreachable star. Why do songs like that become so popular? Well, I think that we inherently know that the quest for something that is beyond is a part of who we are. You could be listening to Bono and U2 singing – ‘I still haven’t found what I’m looking for‘. That’s another song that sort of gets to the point I haven’t found yet what I’m looking for.

Everybody knows this quest because God has made us to seek for ultimate satisfaction.

But the twist on this is that he’s made us in a way that can only be found in him. I want to say that real peace can only be found in Jesus Christ when you establish a personal relationship with him. So where is your satisfaction found today? Is it going to the right school or marrying the right person? Finding the right neighbourhood to live in? Is it the abundance of wealth or the social status that you mix in?

Or maybe it’s having that perfect family or a long life or bouncing your own grandchildren on your knee and seeing them married? Or is it further than that? Is it God, is it God and God alone, you know? Back in 1992 a Sow Herald poll found that on a scale of 1 to 10, Australians rated their present life at 6.78 as being happy.

So out of 10 they scored 6.78. Seems to be, I think, a fairly low score for a wonderful country like Australia. Why are so many people feeling empty and unsatisfied? Why isn’t it 9 out of 10? Many people have searched their hearts, and they’ve found nothing really worthwhile. Spiritually there’s a vacuum, and people have looked into their lives and found there’s really nothing of substance.

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So what do you do. Then there are many people who need to know the answers. I remember that when Reverend Doctor Gordon Moyes graduated from Melbourne University many years ago, one of the great explorers and Antarctic scientists, Dr Philip Law, was at the university and he spoke to the students about his own life in the frozen wastelands of Antarctica. And he said to the students –

“seek adventurous living. There is very little connection between materialistic possessions and true happiness. Don’t attempt to find satisfaction in a job simply for the material benefit that it might bring. Seek for life, real life.”

Well, I think it’s true. Dr Thomas Merton was a Franciscan monk many years ago and he used to pray. “Oh, Lord God, I’ve no idea where I’m going. I don’t see the road. I cannot know for certain where it will end, nor do I really know myself. And the fact that I think I am following you doesn’t mean that I’m actually doing it. I hope, Lord, that I’ll never do anything apart from the desire to do the right thing. And if I do this, you will lead me by the right road. I trust you, Lord, though I may seem to be lost and in the shadow of death, I will not fear, amen.”