Taste and see that the Lord is good. Oh, the joys of those who take refuge in him! Psalm 34:8 NLT
My pantry has become a black hole, partially because I now have six mouths to feed and partially because the four younger mouths in our household have morphed into human vacuum cleaners. I have threatened to have "Hoover" imprinted on my son's forehead. My middle daughter is constantly wanting to eat--obviously going through a major growth spurt. Seems like all four of them have chosen to "spurt" at once. But I don't fault their bodies for craving food. Growing bodies need that or they stop to grow. The problem is when healthy meals and snacks are replaced by the sugary stuff. I am told a handful of chocolate covered raisins, much to my chagrin, does not qualify as a serving of fruit. So there is a constant battle between parents and offspring about what should be eaten for their bodies' changing needs.
I thought about this last night as I received another e-mail from a single parent (probably a dozen or more in the last week) who was reeling from the loneliness that comes with their status in life. This particular guy was struggling with the loss of his wife (almost 4 years) and talking about all those desires and longings that come with being a young adult and missing your best friend. A body, heart, soul that has needs...
Here's what I've learned though. Just as a growing body has changing needs, so does a heart that's growing. From one event to another in life, our heart experiences different emotions and shifts from one need to another. One constant is this, every heart needs to be loved. Every heart. The married. The single. The young and the old. Those who are looking ahead to a life full of potential and those who are staring death in the eyes. God created us to long for and need the warmth of affection and compassion. You can't fault a heart for needing it.
Here's where the problem lies. Too many of us are looking for fulfillment in things that cannot be a substitute. And it's not just things. Too many times it's people or status.
"If I could only be married, I'd be okay."
"If she ever left me I don't know what I would do."
"If our relationship ended my world would be over."
I know those thoughts are out there. I've heard them from dozens of people these last 3 years. I had them myself before my wife died. How in the world does someone carry on when the divorce is final? when he's walked out for good? when death ends your happy marriage?
It comes back to a reality that we all must embrace. No one satisfies like Christ. I know, for some of you that's old news. Yet, we still live like "practical atheists" chanting this truth and living like we have to have something more. As I told my congregation on Sunday, Jesus is not all you need until He is all you have. Letting go of the past, of that career that consumes you, that relationship that has eaten you alive is the only way to freedom in Christ.
You see, not everything in the world's pantry is good for you. It may satisfy your heart temporarily but only in God can you find what your heart is really longing for.