A friend of mine owns a company and was chasing a huge contract. There were lots of agencies bidding and it would have been a huge coup if they had signed this new deal. He hadn’t mentioned it for a few days, so I asked how the negotiations were going.
“Funny you should ask, I got a call just a few hours ago and we didn’t land the contract. I’m disappointed, but not devastated. “
I was impressed that he took the news so calmly; it’s obvious that he works hard at his job, but keeps things in perspective.
In Counterfeit Gods, Tim Keller says “The sign of idolatry is always inordinate anxiety, inordinate anger, inordinate discouragement. Idols are good things (family, achievement, work and career, romance, talent, etc.) that we turn into ultimate things in order to get the significance and joy we need. Then they drive us to the ground because we have to have them. If we lose a good thing, it makes us sad. If we lose an idol, it devastates us.”
Keller continues that if we get married and put all the weight of our deepest hopes and longings on the person we are marrying, we will crush them with our expectations. No person, not even the best one, can give our soul all it needs. When we finally realize this, there are four paths we can choose:
1. Continued idolatry and spiritual addiction; blaming the things disappointing us and trying to move on to better ones
2. Self-loathing and shame; blaming ourselves and beating ourselves up over our failures
3. Hardness, cynicism, and emptiness; blaming the world, or
4. Reorienting our entire life to God; as C.S. Lewis says, “If I find in myself a desire which no experience in this world can satisfy, the most probable explanation is that I was made for another world (something supernatural and eternal)."
"Is there any hope? Yes, if we begin to realize that idols cannot simply be removed. They must be replaced. If you try to uproot them, they grow back; but they can be supplanted. By what? By God himself, of course. ... What we need is a living encounter with God."
I pray that we will all experience a living encounter with God and then admire, value and treasure God above all things.
Blessings, my friend,