Links Daily Devotional

‘I Can’t Get No Satisfaction’

Don’t be deceived, my dear brothers. Every good and perfect gift is from above, coming down from the Father of the heavenly lights, who does not change like shifting shadows. (James 1:16-17, NIV 1984)

I love ShotLink on the PGA Tour. If any of you are unfamiliar with ShotLink, it is “a revolutionary technology that captures and reports vital information on every shot, by every player, real-time, during tournament competition” (per

Looking at the statistics can be fascinating, especially at the start of the year. Through just one tournament, there are players looking at perfect records in scrambling from the rough, sand saves, rounds in the 60s, etc. But if you expand the data to a whole year, say 2012, we see that the best players end their seasons at 70 percent in sand saves and around 65 percent at scrambling. Perfection slips through their fingers every year.

I tried to find a statistic that would show what happens the day after a player shoots a career-best round. I couldn’t find that information, but from our common human experience I can guess that the feat probably wasn’t repeated the next day. And the seemingly pure elation of the previous day’s golfing was now long gone, substituted for a frustration and desire to attain such bliss again.

Doesn’t this happen in our lives too? We want something, maybe get it, then look for something more or new? French mathematician, physicist, and Christian philosopher Blaise Pascal eloquently put it so in his Pensées: “Because nature always makes us unhappy in whatever state we are, our desires paint a happy state for us, because they link the state in which we are with the pleasures of the state in which we are not. And even if we did attain these pleasures, we would not thereby be happy, because we should have other desires appropriate to our new state.”

Our desires can deceive us. I think sometimes we think that if we had had the accomplishments of the “best” in our fields (like Jack Nicklaus and Annika Sorenstam for golf), then we would be happy and content. Have we ever bothered to ask them? Do we really think even the greats of golf achieved all that they had hoped? Or that the best artists do not have any unsatisfying works? That someone lived a life without one unfulfilled dream? That the “perfect” round, the “perfect” career exists for us to achieve and grasp?

No, it is the unattainable state. We are wedged in this cycle of new hopes and desires. But I think that this longing we have for perfection and fulfillment gives us a glimpse of what God can and wants to provide us, now in part, and in eternity, fully. C.S. Lewis wrote simply: “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.”

Today’s passage lets us know where perfection comes from and who gifts it. The preceding verses explain how we can be tempted by our own evil desires, and we are appropriately cautioned not to be deceived by them. We need to recognize and be warned of this state of desiring that dwells in our hearts. There is only One who “does not change like shifting shadows.” God himself exists in a perfect state; in him is perfect love and fulfillment. All other things are like shifting shadows, ever enticing yet ever elusive to grasp.

Thanks be to God for the perfect remedy to our foolish pursuits and the compassion he has for our hearts. Through Jesus Christ, he fills us with love, heals our broken hearts, and makes our poor records whole and perfect, so that we may have peace. This peace frees us from the painful cycle of our human experience. He abundantly gives us this peace, and also grace and love, now—nevertheless in an imperfect world—and we long with a hope that will not be disappointed for the full restoration and completion of his beautiful plan for eternity.

Isabelle Beisiegel

January 16, 2013

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