Are You Missing Out on Something?

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We all know the feeling of being left out—not invited to a party, ignored by the country-club set or shunned by the in crowd. Maybe we haven't being able to afford a vacation this year, or perhaps we've never achieved that big career break.

Middle-aged Americans and Canadians may remember George Morgan's popular country-and-western hit, "Oh, How Close We Were, Almost." We can identify with being close, but still not quite there—always managing to come up just a little short.

Yet we're usually resilient. We get over the slights and learn to live with our longings. We live to endure another day.

An unsatisfied lot

But, no matter how comfortably we seem situated, we often want to be somewhere else doing something different. An actor was so unsatisfied with his life that it was said he didn't want to be anywhere. Others long to be somewhere over the rainbow, as the Judy Garland sang in The Wizard of Oz. Another time. Another job. Another place. Maybe even another marriage partner. The grass is always greener just over the horizon. We want we know not what.

The wisest of the ancients, King Solomon, observed: "The eye is not satisfied with seeing, nor the ear filled with hearing" (Ecclesiastes 1:8 Ecclesiastes 1:8All things are full of labor; man cannot utter it: the eye is not satisfied with seeing, nor the ear filled with hearing.
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). Whatever we do in life, it's never quite enough. An undefinable something anxiously and restlessly tugs at our natures. Some of us turn to drugs and too much alcohol, only to find they bring only a temporary respite often followed by a huge letdown. Ours is an anxious and lonely planet for many people. Reality doesn't meet expectations.

British columnist James Hawes observed: "Most of us spend many of our days, and the odd sleepless Sunday night, in a mixture of vague dissatisfaction with our work and pay, niggling worries about our relationships and health, and low-level fear about our jobs and mortgages" (The Independent , Feb. 15, 1997).

Besides our material desires, we have other longings as well. Whether we live relatively luxuriously or are barely surviving, we yearn for something infinitely more satisfying. We have needs that can be described only as spiritual—intangible yet real cravings that nag at our natures.

Solomon also wrote that God "has put eternity in [our] hearts" (Ecclesiastes 3:11 Ecclesiastes 3:11He has made every thing beautiful in his time: also he has set the world in their heart, so that no man can find out the work that God makes from the beginning to the end.
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). Perhaps that explains some of us attempt to seek out a Shangri-la or fountain of youth, something in the great somewhere that will forever satisfy our unfulfilled longings.

Shake hands among yourselves if you feel this way. Such feelings are common to everybody.

The condition

Most of us know we're missing out on something. This is intrinsic to what some philosophers have called the human condition. Whole areas of understanding are foreign to our life experiences. Essential spiritual knowledge that would assist us in our restless quest for some kind of immortality eludes us.

Our world isn't exactly ideal. We have to make our way in a society whose standards are anywhere from slipping to nonexistent. Ours are lives that breed dissatisfaction. As the late author Norman Cousins so aptly expressed it: "Much of our ache and brooding are the results of our difficulty in using ourselves fully. We perform compartmentalized tasks in a compartmentalized world. We are reined in—physically, socially, spiritually. Only rarely do we have a sense of fulfilling ourselves through total contact with a total challenge" (Human Options, 1981, p. 101).

Yet God, who is revealed in the Bible, does not want human beings, whom He made in His own image, to be dissatisfied for the rest of their lives. He says to dissatisfied of all generations: "Come for water, all who are thirsty; though you have no money, come, buy grain and eat; come, buy wine and milk, not for money, not for price. Why spend your money for that is not food, your earnings on what fails to satisfy? Listen to me and you will fare well, you will enjoy the fat of the land. Come to me and listen to my words. Hear me and you will have life" (Isaiah 55:1-3 Isaiah 55:1-3 [1] Ho, every one that thirsts, come you to the waters, and he that has no money; come you, buy, and eat; yes, come, buy wine and milk without money and without price. [2] Why do you spend money for that which is not bread? and your labor for that which satisfies not? listen diligently to me, and eat you that which is good, and let your soul delight itself in fatness. [3] Incline your ear, and come to me: hear, and your soul shall live; and I will make an everlasting covenant with you, even the sure mercies of David.
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, Revised English Bible).

We were born not only to look for, but eventually to find, the pearl of great price (Matthew 13:45-46 Matthew 13:45-46 [45] Again, the kingdom of heaven is like to a merchant man, seeking goodly pearls: [46] Who, when he had found one pearl of great price, went and sold all that he had, and bought it.
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). But few seem to really discover it. Ponce de León wasn't the only man not to find the fabled fountain of youth. He has had plenty of company.

Envisioning the future

Some have found the spiritual answers to the human dilemma. Jesus Christ once said to His disciples, "... Many prophets and righteous men desired to see what you see, and did not see it, and to hear what you hear, and did not hear it" (Matthew 13:17 Matthew 13:17For truly I say to you, That many prophets and righteous men have desired to see those things which you see, and have not seen them; and to hear those things which you hear, and have not heard them.
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).

The prophets of whom Jesus Christ spoke sensed an inkling of the golden age to come. They knew the One who would ultimately bring it about. They spoke of Him in their prophecies. However faintly they grasped the full reality, they knew Someone would come into humanity whose mission would culminate with that great city "whose builder and maker is God" (Hebrews 11:10 Hebrews 11:10For he looked for a city which has foundations, whose builder and maker is God.
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). Plainly the Spirit of Christ was in these Hebrew prophets (1 Peter 1:11 1 Peter 1:11Searching what, or what manner of time the Spirit of Christ which was in them did signify, when it testified beforehand the sufferings of Christ, and the glory that should follow.
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).

The apostle Paul wrote of "the revelation of the mystery [which was] kept secret since the world began" (Romans 16:25 Romans 16:25Now to him that is of power to establish you according to my gospel, and the preaching of Jesus Christ, according to the revelation of the mystery, which was kept secret since the world began,
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). The solution to this mystery was not fully known even to those who diligently sought understanding, much less to those only mildly curious. Jesus Christ said to His disciples: "... It has been given to you to know the mysteries of the kingdom of heaven, but to them [the whole multitude] it has not been given" (Matthew 13:11 Matthew 13:11He answered and said to them, Because it is given to you to know the mysteries of the kingdom of heaven, but to them it is not given.
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).

God's plan for everybody

God follows a timetable. He is seldom in as great a hurry as we. His plan calls for doors of understanding to be opened a little at a time—initially only to a little flock the Bible terms the firstfruits, then in a future age to come the entire inhabited world, finally culminating in the removal of spiritual blindness from all who have ever lived.

But how do you fit into this providential plan? You are reading a magazine called The Good News. You are a part of a growing family of readers who, for the most part, seek answers about "the good news," or the gospel message Jesus brought. Therefore it could be that God is inviting you to become a part of His Kingdom—with the wonderful opportunity to receive as a gift an indescribable taste of "the powers of the age to come" (Hebrews 6:5 Hebrews 6:5And have tasted the good word of God, and the powers of the world to come,
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).

Many are caught up in secular activities. They evince little interest in the things of God and the Bible—and may have to wait for their spiritual opportunities until a later, better age. But, as the writer of the book of Hebrews said in a different context, we are confident of better things concerning you (verse 9).

An invitation to the Kingdom

A person's calling to salvation is, of course, God's choice. We on The Good News staff cannot open your mind or call you to Him. That is strictly God's business (John 6:44 John 6:44No man can come to me, except the Father which has sent me draw him: and I will raise him up at the last day.
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, 65) and far beyond our limited powers. But we are asked to make spiritual knowledge readily and freely available to help sincere inquirers find the truth of God (Matthew 28:18-20 Matthew 28:18-20 [18] And Jesus came and spoke to them, saying, All power is given to me in heaven and in earth. [19] Go you therefore, and teach all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Ghost: [20] Teaching them to observe all things whatever I have commanded you: and, see, I am with you always, even to the end of the world. Amen.
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).

We can't tell you everything in one article or even one magazine. That's why the publishers of The Good News offer many basic booklets to further explain and spread this precious spiritual knowledge. Perhaps the one that fits this particular article best is What Is Your Destiny? It explains more fully what is missing in your life. It's free for the asking, along with the companion booklets The Gospel of the Kingdom and Making Life Work.

The benefits of knowledge about the age to come are both spiritual and material. God understands we have physical needs, and it is right to seek what we require in an honest and godly manner. Consider the example of Jabez, from the line and family of Judah. The Bible says he "was more honorable than his brothers" (1 Chronicles 4:9 1 Chronicles 4:9And Jabez was more honorable than his brothers: and his mother called his name Jabez, saying, Because I bore him with sorrow.
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).

The Hebrew Scriptures tell us little about his life, but we should take careful note of what God has chosen to reveal. "And Jabez called on the God of Israel saying, 'Oh, that you would bless me indeed, and enlarge my territory, that Your hand would be with me, and that You would keep me from evil, that I may not cause pain.'

God granted him what Jabez requested" (verse 10). Clearly, Jabez was an honorable and righteous man.

A leper implored Jesus, "Lord, if You are willing, You can make me clean." Christ's simple, direct answer was, "I am willing; be cleansed" (Matthew 8:2-3 Matthew 8:2-3 [2] And, behold, there came a leper and worshipped him, saying, Lord, if you will, you can make me clean. [3] And Jesus put forth his hand, and touched him, saying, I will; be you clean. And immediately his leprosy was cleansed.
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). Elsewhere in the Gospels He said, "I have come that they may have life, and that they may have it more abundantly" (John 10:10 John 10:10The thief comes not, but for to steal, and to kill, and to destroy: I am come that they might have life, and that they might have it more abundantly.
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).

He also told us of spiritual principles we must put first in our lives: "But seek first the kingdom of God and His righteousness, and all these things [material necessities] shall be added to you" (Matthew 6:33 Matthew 6:33But seek you first the kingdom of God, and his righteousness; and all these things shall be added to you.
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). God is more than willing to extend His helping hand—often in wonderful ways beyond our human understanding.

Answers are available

The wise founder of a religious college once said to an eager group of students: "This college is a gold mine, but you'll have to dig for the precious spiritual knowledge." The Creator wants us to discover His truth. A kind of partnership exists between God and man.

"Seek, and you shall find," said Jesus Christ. He also said, "Ask, and it will be given to you" (Matthew 7:7 Matthew 7:7Ask, and it shall be given you; seek, and you shall find; knock, and it shall be opened to you:
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).

The One who made us is more than willing to impart His wondrous truth to the privileged men and women He is calling. Through the prophet Jeremiah He tells us: "These are the words of the Lord who made the earth, who formed and established it; the Lord is his name. If you call to me I shall answer, and tell you great and mysterious things of which you are still unaware" (Jeremiah 33:2-3 Jeremiah 33:2-3 [2] Thus said the LORD the maker thereof, the LORD that formed it, to establish it; the LORD is his name; [3] Call to me, and I will answer you, and show you great and mighty things, which you know not.
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, Revised English Bible). GN