Ever since the Fall man has been playing hide and seek with God.
It began with the first bite from that tempting fruit, the one Eve so readily shared with Adam and which was man’s first attempt to find satisfaction in something other than that which God was offering.
And the game began.
Man hides, God seeks.
Just like Adam and Eve we hide because we are ashamed and we think that by staying in the shadows, we will avoid detection and that we can avoid dealing with our messes. But just like in that very first garden, God pursues us, wherever we are hiding, and lovingly draws us towards the light. Because He knows that we cannot put our messes to right while we hide in the dark.
Life can feel messy a lot. I think that if we are honest with ourselves, we will admit that we feel messy too. I know I do. Much as I like everything to be nicely sorted and tidy, on the inside of me, it isn’t that easy. I get messed up. My inner world has a propensity for returning to disorder each and every day. And when I begin to feel too messy, I begin to hide. I begin to reason with myself that I will first get my act together and then I will come to the light.
But God seeks me and when I flee, God pursues me. And God invites me to come as I am.
Why do I not come?
When I am running on empty, why do I not come to Him to be filled?
In this gift-wrapped season of sparkle and good cheer, if our inner world doesn’t match up with the image we are promoting, we may find it more comfortable to avoid looking at it. We may prefer to leave it in the shadows for a more convenient time. And we may continue to fill up on the wrong things, filling up the places in our lives which were designed to be filled up with God.
But what is the greatest gift I can give myself this year? More things? More shine and sparkle? More tastes and sensations? More time with loved ones? More relaxation? More fun? More sheer indulgence and extravagance? More and more and more? Promising me more satisfaction, more fulfilment, more significance, and more happiness? And yet I end up emptier and more dissatisfied, seeking a fullness that eludes me each time.
God is the one Gift we all need. He is the gift which sets us free from our cravings and fills our empty. As we teach our children that the gifts under the tree are not the only or even the main significance of Christmas, I need that reminder too. Not because I seek gifts under my tree, but because I seek the meaning of life in the things of life, in its gifts, rather than in the giver. Because life gives many good gifts but when they become the main thing for me, everything gets off-centre. I try and fill my empty with things which themselves are emptied of power and meaning, because they are emptied of God’s presence.
When Eve reached out and took the forbidden fruit in the garden, she took mankind’s first step away from finding satisfaction in God alone. She wanted something besides God and in the process lost God and all that was left was her fruit-stained mouth, a lingering bitter-sweet aftertaste and cravings that would never be satisfied. Isn’t that what it is like when we fill up on things other than God? It looks so enticing, so inviting, and so promising but it doesn’t fill us up. We are left with a craving for more.
Remember Edmund in C.S. Lewis’s “The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe”.
“Each piece (of Turkish Delight) was sweet and light to the very centre and Edmund had never tasted anything more delicious. ..At first Edmund tried to remember that it is rude to speak with one’s mouth full, but soon he forgot about this and thought only of trying to shovel down as much Turkish Delight as he could, and the more he ate the more he wanted to eat…At last the Turkish Delight was all finished and Edmund was looking very hard at the empty box and wishing that she (the Queen) would ask him whether he would like some more. Probably the Queen knew quite well what he was thinking; for she knew, though Edmund did not, that this was enchanted Turkish Delight and that anyone who had once tasted it would want more and more of it, and would even, if they were allowed, go on eating it till they killed themselves.”
All our things have the power of enchantment over us while we are not being filled by God. But while too much of anything else will make us sick, we can never ever have too much of God.
I know my tendency to avoid coming to Him for that filling, my tendency to hide in the dark when my life feels messy, and my tendency, instead, to pour other things into the bottomless pit of my soul to the point of distraction. I know the pull of other things and I am prone to believe the lie that they will fill me up and keep me satisfied – and comfortable. But God makes me uncomfortable in order to heal me and then He teaches me to come daily to His table.And when I eat at His table, I find myself becoming whole in ways that I never imagined.
So today I choose, again, to come to God’s living fountain, and to drink deeply of His living waters. I choose to be refreshed deep inside because I don’t want the trappings of life to become the main thing. I don’t want to get lost in the wrappings and miss the gift. I want to experience God’s waters bubbling over inside of me. I want to truly slake my thirst and to find true sustenance for my soul. I want deep soul satisfaction at the table He spreads out before me, instead of trying to satisfy my soul needs with anything else. He created me and you to be satisfied in Him alone. Everything else is fluff.
As I walk this walk of life with God, I am beginning to understand that the feast is only just beginning. And it promises to be the best. Will you join me? Will you let yourself be given the greatest gift this Christmas? You cannot receive if you do not come.
Come join the feast!
“Now on the last day, the great day of the feast, Jesus stood and cried out, saying,”If anyone is thirsty, let him come to Me and drink. He who believes in Me, as the Scripture said, “From his innermost being will flow rivers of living water.” John 7: 37-38
Please write and share if and how you have found God to be the one Gift you really need. I’d love to hear your story.