When God takes away your god

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My experience was common.

At twenty, God showed me what I was worshipping at that time in my life – and it wasn’t him. Through suffering, he showed me what we all need to learn: Our idols won’t satisfy us (Isaiah 44:9).

My response was to replace that idol with another. Maybe this one will satisfy me? But God took that from me too. And the next.

I’m closer now to understanding that this world will never satisfy. That only God will. But as I’ve grasped this more and more, I’ve felt two contrasting things.


Here’s a thought experiment. Imagine yourself in twenty years’ time. Everything’s worked out exactly as you wanted. What does your life look like?

Whatever it is, there’s no way you’ll have found perfection – just ask the rich and famous Jim Carrey.

Along with some happiness, you’ll still feel unsatisfied, still wanting something more, still chasing what you can never grasp.

If there’s no part of you which feels sad about this, you surely don’t think it’ll happen.


But let sadness drive you to joy.

Knowing this world can’t satisfy you means you’re free to no longer chase it. Your eyes can look to the only place you have left to satisfy you – being with Jesus in his kingdom (Hebrews 12:2).

Does this sound vague? It’s hugely freeing.

We no longer have to get our perfect life now. We’re free to have a rubbish house, or a boring career, or an imperfect church. We’re free to follow Jesus into a hard neighbourhood.

We’re free to lose our lives in order to find a joy we never knew while worshipping idols (Isaiah 44:20).

Heaven’s not here. But it’s coming. Before then, we’re free to give up on futile treasure hunts and discover joy in storing up treasures in heaven (Matthew 6:20).