"There is no greater disaster for the human heart than this - to believe we have found life apart from God." – John Eldredge
Do we really believe this? At first glance this can seem like an overstatement, a nice pithy saying by a religious person trying to motivate others to become more religious too. Really, there's no greater disaster than believing life is found apart from God?
I can think of a couple of reasons that at least a part of me tends to doubt a statement like this. First, my experience of relating to God isn't always very satisfying. There, I said it. It is rather easy to be a Christian that believes God exists, believes even that Christ died on the cross to demonstrate God's love, while believing that ultimately God is not enough. Yes, we say, it's good to have a sense of security that we'll go to Heaven when we die. It's nice to have a book (the Bible) to go to in order to learn right from wrong. But I cannot touch God, I cannot see God, I cannot hear God (at least audibly). Can God really be my source of life?
Another reason I doubt that it is disastrous to find life apart from God is this: the world seems to offer so much more. Whether we grow up in a wealthy family or a not-so-wealthy one, we see the value of a good job that leads to green. Though we may not consciously say it, and though our parents may not verbally say it, it is getting good grades, which leads to a good job, which leads to financial security that really matters. Financially secure people are happy, right?
If it's not the Benjamins, maybe it is physical intimacy. In those dull moments when we feel alone or unwanted, it can be euphoric to feel really close to someone, to feel the physical pleasure sexual activity brings. God feels so distant. Making out? That feels real. And if not with a real person, at least in cyberspace. Sexually promiscuous people are happy, right?
Or maybe it is parties and alcohol. Maybe it's walking along High Street at 2 in the morning with friends. The alcohol relieves the stress and the parties can make you feel so care-free. Yeah the hangover the next morning isn't so great, but the party life with partying friends has more to offer than God, right?
And we come back to God. He is still here. He is still patiently waiting for us to return to Him. The world seems to be able to offer more life than God. You can try it if you want to. But if you're really honest with yourself, if you really look in the mirror, you will eventually find that it's actually life apart from God that offers you the empty promises.
Here's the bottom line: we don't believe the statement above because we haven't really given God a try. Maybe we tried him on like a pair of jeans in a dressing room for a while, but we really haven't invested all of who we are in relating to Him. He is there, and He is patient with us, waiting with open arms saying: "just come home."