One recent Sunday, a woman who is two years younger than me, her daughter, and her three beautiful, adorable grandchildren filled the pews beside and in front of me. My arms ached to hold the little ones. My soul longed to enfold my two adult unmarried daughters, both hundreds of miles away.
It was only two days before that when I joined a group of ladies at a restaurant who talked about local people, events and situations. I’ve only lived in this area three years so I had no clue of what they were talking about.
I craved to be included.
My husband suffers from chronic pain, debilitating enough that it impacts our relationship. Some days I feel like I am on a roller coaster, never being able to anticipate how he will feel at any given moment. I long for a day without pain-laced conversations.
In moments like these I get disgusted with myself. I read passages in the Bible like Psalm 42:1,2
As the deer pants for streams of water,
so my soul pants for you, my God.
My soul thirsts for God, for the living God.
When can I go and meet with God?
And then there is Psalm 63:1
You, God, are my God, earnestly I seek you;
I thirst for you, my whole being longs for you,
in a dry and parched land where there is no water.
Perhaps I do, more than I realize.
Deep down, what do I want? Community, love, the opportunity to show love, freedom from pain.
My husband also has diabetes. Diabetes whispers lies to your stomach. What you think are hunger pangs are really the diabetes screaming for glucose. In those moments, Jack craves all the things he shouldn’t have.
The world loves to deceive me, trying to convince me that what it has to offer will satisfy my cravings. Yet, just as a quick fix high carb meal will bring only temporary relief that will only make the cravings return en force, so this life’s solutions are only momentary. In my head, I know that while grandkids would be nice, they would bring suitcases of their own inconvenience when they came to visit me, or along with my distant daughters, their only touch on my life might be through texting or Facetime. I don’t feel connected with this group of ladies because my husband and I have chosen to be servants of Christ Jesus and truth to tell, serving my Lord and his people brings me far deeper contentment than merely being able to talk about the local events of an area. I have to remember: it’s not about where I belong but to whom I belong.
Part of faith maturation is the recognition that I am actually craving only what God can provide. When I crave peace, security and belonging, my soul is shouting for the perfection I will find only in God’s domain.
I consider those moments I am dissatisfied – my husband’s pain, my weakness and lack of energy to cope with his pain, mediocre worship services, incomplete friendships. Only heaven can fix what I long for. There, we will be clothed with immortality. There, God will wipe the tears from our eyes. There, we will kneel, lift our hands, and join thousands of voice in the most awesome worship service we can only begin to imagine or comprehend.
In the meantime, I call on my Father to fill my empty arms with Himself and to give me His living water that will satisfy far beyond my momentary cravings. My arms might lie empty of grandbabies, my mouth may be stilled in silence while others chat, and both my husband and I will feel the deterioration of the years. Even so, I will trust that my God is enough for me.