My husband and I went to Paris for our twentieth anniversary. There’s something magical about that city—for me, anyway. We wandered along the streets for a week, and always, in the back of my mind, rang the mantra: I could live here. I could live here forever and be happy.
On the heels of that giant lie came a whispered truth—that contentment cannot be found in Paris. If I were to move to Paris, soon, too soon, I would long for tall trees where I often feel so close to God. And if I were live in the cathedral of the redwoods, I would dream about snowy mountain cottages. And if I were to relocate to a ski town in Colorado, I would ache for sunshine and palm trees. But if I were to someday, somehow, find a secluded seaside home, I’d probably secretly yearn to live in Paris.
The truth is, I will never find true contentment on earth. Yet I seek it, I search for it as if it’s right around the next corner. In a meal with friends or a divine piece of Godiva chocolate. Some seek it in a pill or a bottle. Some seek it in fitness and vanity, others in success in the workplace, or in squirreling away enough money so that when they find that elusive thing, they’ll be able to buy it and bring it home and have it forever. As if contentment can be found in a Ferrari or a flat screen TV.
C.S. Lewis said in Mere Christianity, “If I find in myself desires which nothing in this world can satisfy, the only logical explanation is that I was made for another world.”
The longer I live, the longer I seek pure contentment, the more convinced I am that C.S. Lewis was on to something. I was not made for this world. Neither were you. We were made for eternity, so there will always be, pumping beneath the surface of our skin and our wants, a deeper desire we can never satisfy—to be united with the One who created us, to be surrounded by the beauty that goes beyond cities and mountains and trees and beaches, that goes beyond vanity and money and Masaratis.
There is, within each of us, an emptiness that can only be filled with the Creator who put it there. And it will not be filled, not completely, not permanently, until we meet Him face to face. Beyond the places and the things and the desires of the earth lie the One we truly want, and only in Him, in Heaven, we will be forever content.