I sat in a four-wheel drive truck and studied the large picture of a Whopper hamburger on the side of a Burger King restaurant. It looked more than delicious, tantalizing and beautiful. It had a strange erotic effect on me. As a student of subliminal marketing techniques, I knew this wasn’t simply a photograph of a run of the mill Whopper. It was an artist’s rendition of hedonistic, sensual pleasure in the image of a hamburger. Then I read the caption beside it: “Come inside.” A double entendre, if ever there ever was one!
My buddy returned from using Burger King’s bathroom, got back into the driver’s seat, and off we went. I forgot about the erotic hamburger – or so I thought.
The next day, at around 11:30 a.m., I suddenly got a strong urge for a Whopper. Soon, I had the hamburger in my hand, took a bite, and started chewing. It tasted like… a mediocre hamburger! Why was I so disappointed? I had eaten Whoppers many times before, so I should have known what to expect. Then I remembered the false promise of the erotic advertisement I seen the day before. The rascals! They had tricked me again!
This is what the world does, doesn’t it? It promises complete fulfillment and delivers disappointment. Advertising teaches us to believe that such things as a new car, a trip to Florida or even a hamburger will give us the excitement, prestige, popularity, or sexual fulfillment that we so deeply crave. These things may seem to satisfy us for a while, but ultimately we will still feel unfulfilled.
If yearnings exist within us, it’s because they can be satisfied. When we are hungry, thirsty or tired, we get food, drink or sleep. Yet, we have desires that are harder to satisfy. We crave meaning, appreciation, respect, and love. However, even if we get those things from the world, we will still feel strangely unsatisfied. The reason is that, like Adam after the Fall, we have sinned and are hiding from God.
God made us to find ultimate fulfillment only in Himself. We are simply incomplete without Him. “You have made us for yourself, and our hearts are restless, until they can find rest in you” (St. Augustine of Hippo).