Emptiness and Withdrawal
They shall eat, but not be satisfied . . . Hosea 4:10
Withdrawal is misery. Once the high of the pill wears off, the sweating, aching, and agitation descend like the plague, lasting for days. The pain should be enough to convince the addict never to use again, but the despair of withdrawal perversely convinces the addict that he cannot live without the drug that caused his condition in the first place.
The drug promises pleasure, which it provides for a moment, but then delivers lasting misery. Withdrawal is only the beginning of the hopelessness. As the addict realizes that he would sacrifice anything to get the drug, he comes to hate himself. Then, inevitably, consequences arrive in the form of lost jobs and destroyed families.
Why would anyone engage in any behavior that leads to such despair? Why would we overeat to the point of obesity? Why would we spend our lives at work, instead of with our families? Why would we indulge in pornography, knowing the pain it will bring?
We do these things because we have an appetite for them and because they provide some immediate reward, which inevitably gives way to emptiness and regret the next morning. Not everything we want is evil or sinful, but we can pervert almost anything. Food is necessary and enjoyable, so we attempt to fill our emptiness with it. Medicine has tremendous benefits, so we rely on a pill for happiness.
In today’s passage though, God tells his people that they will never find satisfaction in the empty pursuits of the flesh. Though we try repeatedly, we will find only futility on our own path.
God though, promises the opposite experience. If we choose to forego the immediate gratification found in the destructive appetites of our flesh nature, we can, instead, find true life, joy, and meaning in him. Christ called himself the living water (John 4:10) and it is only in him that we can realize the answer to all of our deepest needs. We don’t have to live like this, wallowing in our own misery. If we will daily do whatever it takes to abandon our our path for God’s, we will find true satisfaction and life in him.