Pacifiers and Foundations
For he was looking forward to the city that has foundations, whose designer and builder is God. Hebrews 11:10
Like many of you, we used pacifiers to calm our children when they were infants. When they were distressed, the pacifier brought instant relief. Through repeated use, they learned to require the pacifier to calm down or fall asleep. When it came time to wean our oldest off his pacifier, he went through a phase of some discomfort, learning to find peace and rest without it. Sometimes though, we’d find him under his sister’s crib, sucking on the pacifiers that had fallen out of her crib. When he could, he’d return to that thing which provided instant comfort. As infants, our children’s contentment was at least partially built on a foundation of the pacifier. When we removed it, the peace was broken for a time, until they learned to find comfort without the pacifier.
As adults, we still have our pacifiers. When in distress or discomfort, we all have things to which we turn to find some relief or release. Often, like the pacifier, these are things we should have given up long ago. For some, that comfort is found in overindulgence of food. For others, it’s alcohol, lust, pornography, excessive shopping, or even outbursts of anger. Whatever it is, it’s some immediate gratification that calms and sooths us. We don’t realize or intend for this to happen, but as we turn repeatedly to our pacifier, we gradually build our contentment upon that thing.
I didn’t mean to build my life around my drug addiction – but I did. The pornography addicted husband doesn’t mean for his lust to play such a profound role in his marriage and sex life – but it does. We view our pacifiers as peripheral, but the more often we turn to them to find comfort, the more we build our existence upon them. The problem of course, is that immediate gratification doesn’t last and it always comes with a price, sometimes a terrible one, to pay later.
Today’s passage reveals a different path – one of life and joy, instead of pain and misery. In it, the author of Hebrews spoke of Abraham, who by faith, built his life on a foundation of God’s will. Only by doing so could he experience the authentic life for which he was created.
We must always build – or attempt to build – our joy, purpose, and comfort on something. When we build it on the pacifiers of our immediate gratification, we court disaster and misery. Only when we take our stressors and anxieties to God daily, asking what he wants us to do with them, can we find lasting life, joy, and peace.