I had to giggle when I read my daughter-in-law’s entry on silerquest.com this morning. Having lived in China for the past nine months, Shannon wrote about visiting friends in Beijing the previous weekend commenting, “One of the best memories of that weekend was eating a delicious hamburger! It was exactly what I wanted!” I could totally relate to what Shannon was saying. I remember being hungry for Chinese food (note the irony!) after moving to Big Spring, Texas for my husband’s Air Force pilot training. We drove 50 miles to eat at a Chinese restaurant in a neighboring town in the hope of satisfying our craving. Imagine our disappointment when we were served tomato rice soup (instead of the traditional egg drop soup) and iced sweet tea (rather than the Chinese green tea served at Chinese restaurants where we grew up!) The only thing served that was even remotely Chinese were the egg rolls, but they weren’t that great. Months later we discovered a place that served decent Chinese food located at the end of the Base runway called (I kid you not), the Ranch Inn Pizza Cafe!
Since that time we have lived in various places and there are certain things I miss from each location. However, as time has passed I have noticed a definite shift in my priorities. The “things” left behind are not nearly as important to me; more often it is the fellowship with the special people I miss that I truly yearn for.
Beyond the physical and relational things we hunger for in life, there is a third area that trumps the first two even though many are not aware of it: the spiritual realm. Several entries ago I quoted Jesus’ teaching from the Beatitudes where He said:
“Blessed are those who hunger and thirst for righteousness, for they will be filled.” (Matthew 5:6)
At the time I asked myself the question, “What are you hungry for Kathie?” I became increasingly troubled when I did not have an answer! I decided to go back to what is “square one” for me: I started a new Journey Notes Praise Journal. That first morning I focused on Lamentations and committed to write an entry every day. It felt good to log my Praises to God as well as my Prayer Concerns. Lamentations 1:22 stood out to me: “Let all their wickedness come before You; deal with them as You have dealt with me because of all my sins. My groans are many and my heart is faint.” My Response was,
“I am so grateful to finally get back into Journey Notes! Thank You Lord for leading me to Lamentations. I know it’s going to be very worthwhile. I appreciate what I have read so far, in that it answers the question “How are we who are saved by grace alone to deal with those who persecute us and delight in evil?” The answer: 1. Go to God in humility and faith in our suffering. 2. Trust that His justice will prevail. Thank You for shepherding my heart in such sweet ways . . . ”
That day I found myself looking at people around me differently, praying for some as I passed them walking on the sidewalk. By “Day Three” I could hardly wait to get started on a new entry because I was curious to find what truth God had waiting for me to discover. That morning I logged my Praises to God for, “Good sleep last night . . . Roses in my garden . . . Your Spirit guiding me.” Lamentations 2:19 stood out: “Arise, cry out in the night, as the watches of the night begin; pour out your heart like water in the presence of the LORD. Lift up your hands to Him for the lives of your children, who faint from hunger at the head of every street.” My Response that morning (in part) was:
“The wisdom of Lamentations is valuable because it demonstrates how we are to mourn when calamity strikes: “Arise . . . cry out . . . pour out your heart . . . lift up your hands” to God for your children’s sake. . . . Help me Lord to take it to heart so that I may benefit those You give me to counsel.”
I realized then, that what I was hungry for was for something I didn’t know I had lost. Reading Scripture had become more of a duty than a joy for me. What I discovered anew was how much I love the freshness of reading and meditating on the Scripture with God’s Spirit as the Shepherd of my heart. Such a rare gift and yet I lost it and did not realize its absence!
How about you? What are you are hungry for?
- The physical desire for something familiar from your past?
- The emotional connection with people you miss?
- Or is it a spiritual desire to know God better as the Shepherd of your heart?
I invite you to consider Jesus admonition to us both: “Blessed are those who hunger and thirst for righteousness, for they will be filled.” The question to think about is not just what you hunger for but, “What do you want to be filled with?”
“Do not be anxious about anything, but in everything, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God. And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.” (Philippians 4:6-7)