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I Can’t Get No Satisfaction
“He has set the right time for everything. He has given us a desire to know the future, but never gives us the satisfaction of fully understanding what He does” (Ecclesiastes 3:11 NIV).
“(I Can’t Get No) Satisfaction” was a song by the English rock band The Rolling Stones, released in 1965. The lyrics refer to secular frustration and commercialism, not Christianity. However, there is a message in the song that has been true since the book of Ecclesiastes was written by King Solomon around 935 BC. In many instances, we cannot get satisfaction, at least not on earth. We may pray for understanding, but I think God is waiting for us to surrender and trust. Proverbs 9:10 teaches, “The fear of the Lord is the beginning of wisdom, and knowledge of the Holy One is understanding.”
From the time we are children, we constantly ask questions that range from mundane to existential. Are we there yet? What’s for dinner? Why is the sky blue? Why did my friend die at
such a young age? Why does evil exist?
Ecclesiastes 3:11 teaches us, “He has set the right time for everything. He has given us a desire to know the future, but never gives us the satisfaction of fully understanding what He does.” This Scripture is telling us that God made us to be curious because “He has given us a desire to know the future.” As Christian we know that God is in control, but we are hesitant to walk by faith and not by sight. We tend to want to lean on our own understanding. This is particularly true for those with a predisposition toward left-brain logic.
Jesus understood our desire for understanding. He said in John 13:7, “You don’t understand now what I am doing, but someday you will.” Jesus’s speaking style did not give “satisfaction” to the crowds. In Matthew 13 Jesus had finished the Parable of the Sower and the disciples asked Him a question that any of us would have likely asked. “Why do you speak to the people in parables? (Matthew 13:10).
His answer is revealing in many ways. “He replied, “Because the knowledge of the secrets of the kingdom of heaven has been given to you, but not to them. Whoever has will be given more, and they will have an abundance. Whoever does not have, even what they have will be taken from them. This is why I speak to them in parables: “Though seeing, they do not see; though hearing, they do not hear or understand. In them is fulfilled the prophecy of Isaiah: “‘You will be ever hearing but never understanding; you will be ever seeing but never perceiving. For this people’s heart has become calloused; they hardly hear with their ears, and they have closed their eyes. Otherwise they might see with their eyes, hear with their ears, understand with their hearts and turn, and I would heal them.’ But blessed are your eyes because they see, and your ears because they hear. For truly I tell you, many prophets and righteous people longed to see what you see but did not see it, and to hear what you hear but did not hear it” (Matthew 13:11-16).
Jesus spoke in parables – earthly stories with a heavenly meaning. He did so that His disciples would comprehend His teachings and that unbelievers would be without comprehension. Those interested in understanding the truth of His message would understand while those not interested would remain without understanding. I circle back to King Solomon. He wrote in Proverbs 9:10, “The fear of the LORD is the beginning of wisdom, and knowledge of the Holy One is understanding.” This provides me the satisfaction that I desire, and I am confident that when I meet my maker I will rest in complete peace, love and satisfaction.
Prayer: Dear God: Thank you for steadfast love which endures forever. Grant us ears to hear your Word proclaimed and the resolve to proclaim it to others. Amen.
Meet the Author
Todd Shupe is a Men’s Ministry Specialist through the General Commission of United Methodist Men and is in training to be a Certified Lay Minister through the Louisiana Conference of the United Methodist Church. He currently serves as the President of the Baton Rouge District of United Methodist Men and is a Board Member for Gulf South Men and serves on the Action Team for The Kingdom Group. He is a volunteer for the Walk to Emmaus, Grace Camp, and Iron Sharpens Iron. Todd resides in Baton Rouge, Louisiana.
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