Lack is not having enough of something. Lack is falling short of something. We experience lack when we fall short of actual or perceived tangible and intangible resources we need for living: spiritually, financially, emotionally, psychologically, intellectually, experientially. Lack affects our joy and is experienced in the form emptiness, doubt, uncertainty, anxiety, worry, fear, perplexity. And these are emotions and feelings that we are always running away from, and are naturally inclined to seek abundance, sufficiency, growth, comfort, and productivity—the absence of lack. But what do we do when we experience lack, when we experience emptiness and doubt, when we fall short of our goals in our pursuit of spiritual, personal, relational, emotional, professional excellence? After all, lack is the natural familiar state of all humanity, for Christian and non-Christians alike. There is bad and good news for you Christian. The bad news is that your Christianity will not necessarily afford you more comforts and joys, or grant you a free-access pass into “blessings” or “no-pain-or-disappointment zone". There is pain and suffering to be had, it is promised in the Bible. The good news is that, there’s joy beyond this lack, and we are repeatedly asked to seek, pursue, know, and treasure this joy. This joy is Christ. God does not and will never give us any comfort , abundance, or joy outside of Christ because that’s an impossibility.
I was reading through the book of Habakkuk and the book ends with these verses from Chapter 3:
17 Though the fig tree does not bud and there are no grapes on the vines,though the olive crop fails and the fields produce no food,though there are no sheep in the pen and no cattle in the stalls,18 yet I will rejoice in the Lord, I will be joyful in God my Savior. 19 The Sovereign Lord is my strength; he makes my feet like the feet of a deer, he enables me to tread on the heights.
There is a beautiful and deep context behind those 3 verses, which I encourage you go study. But generally speaking, what a beautiful verse!!! Here is a joy based not on my lack, changing emotions, comforts, resources, commitments or lack thereof, but on the unchanging nature of a God who is still God in all of the aforementioned circumstances. Whether in lack or plenty, in failure or victory, in happiness or sadness, in spiritual doubt or certainty, we ought to be committed to seeking, adoring, and rejoicing in God alone. This is a truth I don’t want to lose, and neither should you--God-centered, Christ-centerd joy. We need a daily reminder of Christ-centered joy, which is at the core of the entire Gospel from the Old to New Testament, and unfortunately not emphasized enough in a majority of Christian teachings. I remind myself to seek and pursue this joy daily, especially when my mediocre attempts at trying to make God happy (as if God needs to be any more happier or love me more) by my righteous actions fail, which they will fail, quiet more than you can imagine. So when I'm lacking in personal joy, personal holiness, personal tangible or intangible comforts, personal riches, by this I am reminded to look beyond my personal self-centered lack, and into the abundance in the Person of Christ. There is a joy and abundance there, that overflows into me, where no human lack can eclipse. This a mystery still being made knowledgeable and practical to me, and I share so that you can seek it for yourself, not in this blog text, but in the Bible text itself, and by living out your walk with Christ day by day.