Every time I go to Wal-mart I feel bad for Brad Pitt. Not horrible, I don’t feel all that bad. Just like when John Mayer sings on his most recent song about his heartache I think about his $20 million watch collection and string of models and I don’t feel all that miserable for his troubles. But Brad Pitt, jeez.
Apparently Angelina Jolie cheated on him. Or not. Tabloid magazines have to get things right like the weather man. There’s no degree of accuracy required to write a headline like “Angelina cheats on Brad with copywriter!” (Chances are it wouldn’t be a copywriter, but I just tried to pick the coolest profession that came to mind, and there it was.) But sometimes when bad things happen to famous people, we get puzzled:
How could someone cheat on Brad Pitt? That’s Brad Pitt!
How could Tiger cheat on his wife? She’s so hott!
How could Tom Brady say the super bowl rings weren’t enough? He was the MVP!
And I get those kind of thoughts. I’ve had them before and I am sure I will have them again at some point, but I think they reveal something interesting about us. I think they uncover something a little devious. I think that if you dig a little, what we are really saying when we say things like that is this:
“I can be content outside of God.”
Maybe those aren’t the exact words you’re using, but they might as well be. Because let’s add the other half of the thought to those three sentences from above:
How could someone cheat on Brad Pitt? That’s Brad Pitt! If I had Brad Pitt as my man I would forever be happy. I’d never leave the house I would be so in love.
How could Tiger cheat on his wife? She’s so hott! I would never cheat. She’s all I would need. She’s way too pretty to cheat on.
How could Tom Brady say the super bowl rings weren’t enough? He was the MVP! If I won a super bowl, life would be complete. I would have everything. And Gisele! I’m not sure there’s any problem in life that can’t be solved by a Brazilian supermodel.
There’s a good chance you didn’t see yourself in those statements. There’s a good chance that your thing isn’t represented in any of those examples. And that’s good, but chances are you’ve got another “thing.” Maybe it’s a promotion or a job you secretly believe would magically make life better. Maybe it’s some bill paid off or some neighborhood you want to move to or a million other things.
We all have things. We all have our Super Bowls or Brad Pitts and when we chase them to the exclusion of everything else, we all end up empty. We end up owning $20 million in watches and still feeling depressed. We end up marrying super models and cheating on them. We end up with shiny toys that lose their shine the second they’ve been “caught.”
And to all of that, God says “I’ve got this.”
Over and over in the Bible he doesn’t hide what’s what when it comes to being satisfied. He doesn’t play around when it comes to contentment. He doesn’t waste his time or your time with things. In Psalm 103, he’s described as the God who:
“satisfies your desires with good things”
I’ve been stuck on that chapter for a while now and the thing I love about this particular verse is the word, “your.” Do you see what that means for you and me?
We serve a personal God.
We serve an individual God.
It doesn’t say, “who satisfies desires with good things.” It doesn’t say he satisfies a bunch of desires from a nameless bag of desires and everyone gets the same and they just have to deal with it.
Not at all. The desires he meets. The things he touches. The places he speaks to. They are yours. Yours as in customized to who you are and who you’ll always be. They are not one size fits all. They are one size fits me.
I think when we forget that, I think when we start serving a faceless, corporate God, we lose touch with the personal, intimate relationship that is available. I think we start feeling that when we give our lives to God he is going to turn us into the opposite of who we currently are. If you’re a writer, he’s going to make you study calculus. If you love people, he’s going to make you become a solitary nun. If you hate missions, he’s going to instantly send you to Africa.
But maybe we’re wrong. Maybe it’s time to forget Brad Pitt. Forget the job or degree you think is going to change your life forever. Maybe it’s time to forget the faraway, impersonal God. Maybe the guy who created your thing, the guy who hid it where not even a super model or an astronaut could find it, maybe he wants to show you want it’s all about. Maybe he is more 1 to 1 than we can possibly imagine.
Long live our personal God.