It is time.

When our calendars turn from August to September, it means a familiar friend is coming back to live with me for the next few months.

He’s exciting and unpredictable. He lights up my Friday nights, stabilizes my Saturdays, and satisfies my Sunday afternoons. He makes me want to jump on my coffee table, scream loud enough to scare the dog, and dip more chips than the recommended daily allowance. His mere presence soothes my troubled soul.

Satisfaction, thy name is football.

I welcome your return. I embrace the commercials, tweets, and articles you bring with you. I long to see Dragons, and Huskers, and Broncos. Oh my!

But for all the enjoyment, football always leave me wanting more. I’m not one for predictions but this one is a lock. I know how this season is going to end: disappointment. Not just the disappointment of my team’s failures but the disappointment of something good coming to an end. Come season’s end, football junkies like me will be left to get our fix from other sources — but it’s never the same.

Whether it’s football or another sport, the satisfaction never lasts. The same holds true for all of our pursuits, when we take the time to stop and think honestly about them. Have you noticed that no matter how fulfilling our pursuits feel, they always leave us feeling a little empty? It’s that nagging suspicion that maybe, just maybe, there is something more.

A season that will never end. Excitement that will never grow dull. Meaning that will never become meaningless.

You’re not the only one who has felt the pangs of that particular hunger. Some of our most soul-stirring songs recognize that “I can’t get no satisfaction,” from earthly pursuits, which is why “I still haven’t found what I’m looking for.”

What if the deep longings that are awakened in our earthly enjoyments could actually be filled?

After reading all the preseason stories, depth charts, and player features, I also read C.S. Lewis, who wrote in “Mere Christianity,” that “If we find ourselves with a desire that nothing in this world can satisfy, the most probable explanation is that we were made for another world.”

If he’s on the right track, this would explain the emptiness we often feel when we’re at our fullest points. What if that dullness was actually an awakening to something greater?

Something greater than football? I’m listening.

When the human authors of Scripture tried to quench this thirst for meaning, they found answers in the deep water of God.

“Yet God has made everything beautiful for its own time. He has planted eternity in the human heart, but even so, people cannot see the whole scope of God’s work from beginning to end.” (Ecclesiastes 3:11)

We all long for something that lasts longer than what we experience here. But the more we try to fill up on the temporary, the more our appetites long for the eternal. Quenching my parched soul with earthly drink is like guzzling salt water. Not only does it fail to satisfy my deepest needs, it’s actually killing me.

Only God can fill that kind of longing, because, “The Lord’s loving kindnesses indeed never cease, for His compassions never fail. They are new every morning.”

(Lamentations 3:22–23)

We can still enjoy the seasons, sports, and pursuits that bring us satisfaction. But as we do, may our deeper thirsts direct us to the only one who can truly fill us. He never has an off season.

Gregg Madsen is the Lead Pastor of Steadfast Gretna. Reach him at gma

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