September, 2021 – Is That All There Is?

September, 2021 – Is That All There Is?

I remember Peggy Lee’s number one hit in the late ‘60’s, “Is That All There Is?”  I really didn’t pay much attention to it.  It was kind of a ‘downer’, but I liked the melody – and it did give me pause in my own life concerning what I was doing at the time and truly, ‘was that all there was’ to my life?  Would my life at that time be as interesting or fulfilling as it ever would be?’

I didn’t know that this particular ‘hit’ would be the one to save Peggy Lee’s career, nor did I know that it was the story of her life.  I also didn’t know that it had been influenced by the malaise and restlessness of the whole 60’s decade.  And for sure I didn’t know at the time that the lyrics had been based on a couple of vignettes from the 1929 Nobel Prize winner, Thomas Mann’s work entitled, Disillusionment written in 1896.  (Briefly, this short work is the story of a very disenchanted young man.)

Even though I had been raised in a Christian home and somehow thought (I guess) that I was covered under the umbrella of my parents and my church to be a Christian as well, there was a deep emptiness in me.  It wasn’t until the Spring of 1974 that I had a one-on-one experience with Jesus Christ and cried out to Him, “If I never accepted you as my own personal Savior, I do now!”  (There is a much more detailed story of this experience which I wrote about in an earlier ‘Sharing’.)

This writing, though, is about some who have been followers of Christ for years, have weathered all that life has had to throw at them, have served the Lord faithfully in the most difficult of times – yet come to a point where they feel an unhappiness, a boredom, and maybe even an uneasiness in their lives. Now what?  What to do?  For me, on more than one occasion, it was difficult – but knew I needed to find as much alone-time as I could to bury my head and my heart in the Scripture.  I needed (we all need) to be refreshed from time to time – to give God the reins to our lives – to see if He has a new direction for us.  It isn’t as simple, really, as what I have just written.  Sometimes I have had great times of agonizing – of crying out to the Lord to rescue me!

Several years ago, I had sensed God’s wanting to communicate with me, but I couldn’t imagine what He wanted and kept putting Him off.  I came to the point where I could no longer bear the burden of ignoring Him.  Matthew 6.6 says – “But when you pray, go into your room . . . “  – and an older version says, ‘go into your closet’.  And I did exactly that.  It was always so noisy in my home with 3 young sons, that I literally made space in my hall closet, went into it and closed the door.  After dismissing the Holy Spirit for weeks on this matter, I rather annoyedly said, “What is it that You need to tell me?!”

These were His words:  “I just wanted to tell you that I love you”. 

He watched my way too busy, hectic, chaotic, and noisy life and knew that I couldn’t even hear Him unless I set myself apart for at least just a few minutes.  Hearing His message in my heart, tears rolled down my cheeks!  This patient, loving, gracious, caring, and tenacious One LOVED me!  I knew that – but His loving me enough to set me aside to whisper it in my heart, broke me.

Whatever I have experienced in my life brings me to an answer for “Is that all there is?” – NO.  Wherever our lives are right at this moment – good or not so good – that is not all there is.  Jesus said in John 10.10, “I am come that they (that’s you and me) might have life, and have it more abundantly.”  Bury your head and heart in the Scripture, fast, pray, get alone . . .  If we desire more than where we are in our life with Christ right now, He will bring us to that place.   I love Isaiah 48.18 in the Message –  “I’ll show you what to do, where to go. If you listen what I tell you, your life will flow full like a river,”