What Is Better Than Life?

Human life is often viewed as the ultimate thing to cherish and preserve. We call life precious. We call it a treasure. We call it irreplaceable. We will go to great lengths to save a life. And we often view the greatest gift and sacrifice is when someone gives their own life for someone else.

This high regard for life makes David’s words in Psalm 63:6 intriguing. He says to God, “Your steadfast love is better than life.” He places the faithful love of God as something that is even greater than life itself.

Why does David make such a statement?

David recognizes that the thing that he ultimately needs is not found in his own life or in the things of this physical world but in the very love of God.

Now this sentiment sounds good. But do we really believe these words or do we simply take them as hyperbole. Often what we really believe is that God’s love is a great addition to our life. But David goes farther and says the faithful love of God is greater than anything in our life.

Is God’s love truly better than life? In other words, is the pursuit of knowing the love of God the ultimate human experience that transcends life itself. Well, to answer that question we need to understand what David was trying to communicate.

In Psalm 63:1 David writes, “O God, you are my God; earnestly I seek you; my soul thirsts for you; my flesh faints for you…” In these words, David recognizes that his ultimate need is God. The thirst of his soul is not satisfied in anything found on this earth but in God alone. God is not just a part of David’s life, but God is his life.

David was expressing these words in a time in which he had physical and emotional needs. He was in an actual wilderness fleeing his enemies. His body was weary and his heart was hurting. And yet even in everything he was going through he recognized that the most important thing was not to have his physical or emotional needs met, but to have his soul’s thirst quenched through communion with God.

So many of us are wanting God to change or fix or heal our physical circumstances in order for us to know true life. We often come before Him with requests like:

“Give me a job that I can find purpose in so that I can have sense of fulfillment in my life?”
“Let me find a spouse so that through marriage I can truly enjoy life.”
“Take away these health issues so that I can start to fully live again.”

Our ability to know satisfaction in this life is often connected with some physical or emotional need in our life. But what happens is we get that “dream job” and we are still searching for fulfillment and contentment. We finally get married and yet our soul still seems thirsty for something more.

As Christians, one of the most destructive mindsets is that true life is found in this world. And so we give in to the lie that says, “My life would be happy if…” And that mindset keeps us on a lifelong question for true happiest that won’t fade away.

God knows the heart of man. God knows we have a natural bent to try and satisfy our soul’s thirst with temporary things. This is one of the reasons an entire book of the Bible is dedicated to this very theme. In the Old Testament book of Ecclesiastes, King Solomon is trying to answer the age-old statement, “My life would be happy if…” And he came to the conclusion that nothing in this physical world can ever give us lasting happiness. That no matter what we pursue, it ultimate leaves us longing for something else.

This is a lesson that Solomon learned and passed down to us. The ironic thing is that most likely that same lesson was probably passed to him. Solomon’s dad was David who already acknowledged that his soul’s thirst could only be satisfied in God and that God’s love is better than life. Even if David didn’t personally share this with his son, Solomon would have likely read the same words we have read in Psalm 63. But sometimes we have to learn the hard way.

But I imagine David also had to learn the hard way, like you and I too often have to do. We seek true joy and purpose in our family, in our jobs, in our life pursuits and ultimately have to come back to the reality that life is find in God and God alone.

Don’t ask God to change the circumstances of your life so that you will know true life. Ask God to change your thirst. Ask God that you would know the satisfaction of His love and not the temporary satisfaction of anything found in this world.

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