By Jessica Tanderup
It happens so often, you’d think I’d learn. I arrive at a restaurant famished. Sitting down at the table, I open the menu—and everything looks delicious. I agonize over which meal to order, and salivate over the tantalizing photos of delectable desserts. “I’m definitely saving room for one of those!” I say. Finally making my decision, I place my order with great anticipation. And then they arrive. The basket of tortilla chips. Or perhaps dinner rolls. Abject of any nutritional value, but right there, within my grasp, as I feel my stomach tighten with hunger. “I’ll just take a few, to take off the edge,” I think. But as the wait grows longer, and as I become distracted by conversation with my dinner companions, my hand reaches of its own accord, my mouth opens and closes without thought, and suddenly, the basket is empty.
When my food arrives, I dig in as if I’ve been on a three-day fast. It’s so delicious—but, I’m so full! With less than half of my plate cleared, my stomach starts to send me messages: “We’re close to capacity down here! Better slow ‘er down lady!” The thought of those luscious delicacies drizzled in chocolate and caramel which seemed so appealing not thirty minutes ago, now seem repulsive. “If I eat another bite I will be sick?” I say, pushing my plate away.
Proverbs 27:7 speaks to this recurring phenomenon: “The full soul loatheth an honeycomb; but to the hungry soul every bitter thing is sweet.”
Sadly, this phenomenon is not limited to the natural. Spiritually, I have found myself in the same trap. I arrive at the house of the Lord with my heart and mind so filled up with easily accessible but spiritually useless distractions, I end up turning up my nose at the sweetly seasoned and carefully prepared meal God has for me. They don’t have to be sinful or worldly distractions, though those clearly are detrimental to my spiritual appetite. Maybe it’s just my own opinions about how things should happen, influenced by my consumption of professional entertainment, or even “professional Christianity.” When I find myself thinking things like “the sermon was too long,” or “the music wasn’t as tight as it could be,” or “that just wasn’t what I needed today,” I realize that I have allowed myself to become sated with filler, while the gourmet preparations of God’s Word and Spirit sit before me, untouched, because I have no room left.
But when I am hungry for God’s Word, truly starving for a touch of His Spirit, even the bitter, convicting words of the preacher are sweet to my ears. The meal God has prepared for me fills me up and truly satisfies in a way that never leaves me feeling sick and regretful. Instead I leave nourished, energized, and ready to face whatever comes my way.
Lord, let me always hunger and thirst for You, for You have promised that I will never leave Your table disappointed.