"As a deer pants for flowing streams,
so pants my soul for you, O God.
My soul thirsts for God,
for the living God."
It never ceases to amaze me that within fifteen minutes of my little girl finishing dinner she almost always says, “Mamma, I’m hungry.” My answer is the same every time. “Are you really hungry?” Her response: “yes, starving” (Which causes me to giggle a bit). I then ask her what she could possibly want to eat seeing that we just finished dinner. She quickly starts spouting out things like cookies, ice cream, candy, chocolate milk –and on and on and on. You see, my little teeny-tiny isn't really hungry –she just has a craving that was temporary.
Would you take a moment and think through your day and compile in your mind a list of things that you have craved today? In that moment, I am quite positive that your cravings could actually be satisfied by something else. You want ice cream but maybe you’re out, so you grab a candy bar instead. One way or another your sweet tooth was filled. For most of us, we expect instant gratification. If we can’t get it fast, we don’t want it at all. We can grab any kind of food that we like at any time, we can download a book instantly and read it, we can place a grocery order, and have it delivered to our home in a matter of hours, we can text and get a response immediately –and so on. But here is the truth about our wants and cravings. These things that offer instant but temporary satisfaction will never fill us up or sustain us. The enjoyment of them fades as soon as the new wears off or the next best thing comes along.
Yet day in and day out, if you are anything like me, you have attempted to use the temporary pleasures of this earth to bring fulfillment to your lives. We wait for the day when we receive an earthly gift that will make us happy, fix our problems or remove the stress of life's circumstances. We expend ourselves and our energy trying so often to fill ourselves up with a level of happiness that can be depleted in an instant by hundreds of outside elements. We wait for the perfect job, the perfect spouse, the perfect friends, the perfect car, and the perfect house only to realize that we are waiting on and striving for perfection in the wrong places.
Jesus said to them, “I am the bread of life; whoever comes to me shall not hunger, and whoever believes in me shall never thirst. John 6:35
This life was not meant to bring us 100% happiness at all times. Jesus never promised that to His followers. In all actuality, His teachings were more often that life will be hard, troubles will come, trials will happen, and struggles should be expected. But He also tells us that what we find in Him will always sustain us until eternity. His water doesn’t quench our thirst for a few hours or a day. Instead, we read in the Bible that when we drink from the fountain that He pours out for us, we will never thirst again. He is our bread of life. He is our fulfillment. He is our joy. He is our peace. He is our everything.
And while it breaks my heart to see people hurt, I also know that if we never hurt, we won't see the miraculous healing power that Jesus offers to us when we abide in Him. If we were never confused, we would never seek Him for answers and if this world could offer endless joy and contentment, we would never long for eternity with our Maker. If our hopes are based on the temporary fulfillment of a broken world, we will have walked in and out of this beautiful holiday season no better than we started.
As we begin to take down the trees, box up the decorations and look towards a New Year, I challenge you to evaluate what your wants, desires, and longings are. Are you placing your trust in fleeting things that the world offers to you or are you trusting in the promises of God that because of His Son, Jesus, we shall never hunger and thirst again?
As we approach the New Year, I encourage you to form habits and intentionally plan out your day by putting Jesus FIRST. It will be in these moments that you find a true and trustworthy source of peace, hope, and joy that will permeate throughout your days regardless of what the world throws at you.
This month I will not be sending out a Bible reading plan. Instead, I would like to encourage you to find daily advent devotions to read to prepare your hearts for Christmas and the birth of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ. If you are looking for Advent Devotions, please contact me and I will gladly send a few of my favorites.