Holy DissatisfactionPosted: November 25, 2010
We see throughout the Scriptures that God often stirs dissatisfaction in the hearts of his chosen servants. This “holy dissatisfaction” makes people willing to leave their comfort zones, make changes, take enormous risks, and perform exploits. In many cases, it prompts them to challenge evil, corruption, and complacency.
Abraham felt a holy dissatisfaction when he left Ur for a land unknown, and again when he longed for an heir. But while Isaac, the heir, was the object of his longing, Abraham’s devotion to God was still greater. Thus, he was ready to sacrifice Isaac on the altar.
Likewise, Hannah was dissatisfied, praying to have a son. When God granted her Samuel, she dedicated him to the Lord. She was willing to give him up, in the knowledge that she had fulfilled a higher mission. Samuel became one of the greatest of prophets, and the anointer of kings.
Samuel was himself dissatisfied, for Israel was not content to have God’s Law, his prophets and priests to guide them: they wanted an earthly king like the other nations. God chose Saul. Samuel tried to guide Saul, but he was headstrong and disobedient. When Saul finally went too far, sacrificing in Samuel’s place, Samuel turned from Saul and anointed David.
When young David heard Goliath challenge the army of Israel, he was incensed. A holy dissatisfaction rose up within him, manifested in strength from the Holy Spirit, and David conquered the giant. Throughout his life, David was always at his best when his heart longed to satisfy the Lord.
Elijah and Elisha never seemed satisfied. By their complaints, they irked the kings of Israel, who at various times tried to kill them. They and all the prophets after them saw the ingratitude and disobedience of God’s people, their idolatry, the temple of the Lord lying waste, and the poor and innocent abused, and cried out against the perpetrators. In general, the prophets led lives of danger, deprivation, and persecution. Many met horrible deaths at the hands of their enemies.
Jesus, in his earthly ministry, approached many would-be disciples. The rich young ruler clung to his wealth; it was the few, like Peter, Andrew, James, and John, who were willing to leave all they had — family, friends, homes, and livelihood — to follow him. They were not satisfied with the things of this world. Then Paul, in particular, with unbounded zeal for the Lord, at first misdirected, by not settling for less than total devotion, took the Gospel beyond the confines of Judea to the rest of the world.
The Lord, you see, can hardly use people who are satisfied with the status quo: for Christians though they may be, preservers of the faith, protectors of their own children, and faithful to attend church, yet they are like great rocks buried in the soil and hard to be moved. The Lord best uses the misfits, the rebels, the agitators, the “losers” of this world, for they are like rolling wheels that need but to be guided to be useful.
Unfortunately, the Church, tending to be conservative, traditional, and family-oriented, often seeks to purge those who are in their eyes “extremist” or “weird” from their midst. Such are they who challenge, disturb, “rock the boat,” and question the status quo.
Disturbance, of course, is never appropriate for its own sake. But the Lord is calling today for those who are willing to do new things in new ways — to sew new patches for new wineskins — and in many cases shake up the Church, in order to reach the world with a vital, powerful, pure and unadulterated message. For the status quo is institutional — the true Gospel is only spiritual; requires spiritual qualifications, not natural; and calls for Spirit-qualified men and women rather than those acceptable to human wisdom and sensibilities.
© 2002 Paul A. Hughes