Thursday, July 18, 2013

Crying, Craving and the Only Thing that Satisfies

It was after midnight and she had been crying for almost an hour.

My husband squeezed my hand as he sensed my frustration was growing. I squeezed back. It was a Sunday night and, after a long day of preaching and shepherding, I knew he was exhausted too.

I had tried everything: picking her up, putting her back down, changing her diaper, rubbing her back, giving her medicine, repeating again and again to no avail until I finally gave up and got back in the bed. If she were going to cry no matter what I did, I was at least going to rest my tired body for a few minutes.

I wracked my brain…. She had been sleeping through the night for months now. What could be the problem? 

I mentally went through the checklist again, the one that all mommas have filed away when their child is wailing and they have no idea why.

She was sleeping in a packnplay in our room because we had family visiting for the weekend. Maybe it was just unfamiliar to her, but it had not bothered her the night before….

Perhaps she was teething again. She had finally gotten a new tooth that had been waking her up at night. I had given her a dose of Tylenol just in case 30 minutes ago though and it should have kicked in by now. No, that wasn’t it…. 

Maybe she was overtired. She had missed a nap the last two days. Good sleep begets good sleep, they say…  But who knows at this point, I thought. 

Dear Lord, please let her go to sleep

I rolled over and put the pillow over my head. “Well, at least I know she can’t be hungry,” I thought.

I sat straight up in bed and bemoaned to myself, “OH NO.  I couldn’t have.” 

But I HAD.

I turned to my husband, not even bothering to whisper because clearly what was the point, “I know why she’s crying. She’s hungry.”

“Hungry? Why would she be hungry?” he asked.

With a sigh of relief that I knew what was wrong and regret that it was my own doing, I answered. “Because I forgot to feed her before I put her to bed.”

In the hustle and bustle of getting dinner ready after church that evening, I had forgotten to feed her. It had not even crossed my mind. And her sweet, easy-going personality went right along with it. She went to bed like all was well only to be awakened when her poor tummy started rumbling and she could not sleep any longer.

I rolled out of bed to feed her. Before long she and I were snuggled together. She was content and satisfied. Exhausted from her long bout of tears, her sweet eyes looked up at me with the most precious of thanks after her cries had finally been answered.

As I sat there savoring my little one, I saw my Bible sitting on the night stand. I remembered the verse from scripture, “Like newborn babes, CRAVE the pure milk of the word.” 

 I would love to say that verse described my own heart towards the Word that night, but the truth is that it had been weeks since I had picked it up and read it on my own. Midnight calls from sick children, a teething baby needing constant comfort, and a cluttered home with a too busy schedule had made choosing another hour of sleep or my to do list over time in the Word seem like the easy and excusable choice.

The neglect had taken its toll on me, but I had explained my uneasy soul away with other things. Surely I was just tired or I was catching what the kids had or it was this new season of life and the fact that I felt so disorganized. Maybe all I needed was to get a good nap, take another vitamin C, and finally get my house organized. Then my soul would be quieted. 

None of it worked. But being hungry for God’s word never crossed my mind.

Yet it is the only thing that would satisfy.... 

I had been ok at the beginning or so I thought, but slowly my heart had fallen into weakness and depression. As it did, the foolishness of sin was becoming more and more common place in my life. But it wasn’t because I was physically tired, sick or unsettled it was because I was hungry.
Mine was not simply a heart that was not getting what it was craving. No, I was starving.   

I could sense my restless soul crying out for the one thing I so desperately needed: the Word of God described so vividly in Psalm 19.

I was the weak heart that needed to be revived. 

I was the despondent heart that needed to be rejoiced. 

I was the foolish heart that needed to be made wise.

And nothing else would do. I had tried all of those other things not realizing that true rest for my soul would not come from more sleep, a healthy body, or a well planned life and home. True rest can only be found in the Lord and abiding in His Word. 

You have made us for yourself, O Lord, and our hearts are restless until they rest in you.~ St. Augustine of Hippo

Perhaps it has been a long time since you have craved the Word of God with the same intensity of my daughter crying out in the midnight. May the Lord so work in your heart that you remember when you once did and you would sing the psalmists.

Behold, I long for Your precepts; Revive me through Your righteousness. Psalm 119:40

I opened my mouth wide and panted, For I longed for Your commandments. Psalm 119:131

 I rejoice in your word like one who discovers a great treasure. Psalm 119:162

Or perhaps your our own starving heart has been described here and it has been much too long since you have picked up the Word. You have tried to explain your restless soul by the circumstances of life but you know what your real need is. I implore you not to try to roll over and drown out the cries of your heart this day because feasting on the Word of God is the only thing that will satisfy you

No matter where you find yourself, I invite you to join me in meditating today on the glories of His Word seen in Psalm 19.

"The precepts of the Lord are right, rejoicing the heart,
The law of the LORD is perfect, restoring the soul;
The testimony of the LORD is sure, making wise the simple.
The commandment of the Lord is pure, enlightening the eyes.
The fear of the Lord is clean, enduring forever.
The judgments of the Lord are true, they are righteous altogether.
They are more desirable that gold, yes than much fine gold, Sweeter also than honey and the drippings of honeycomb.
Moreover, by them Your servant is warned; In keeping them there is great reward."

I am praying for you, dear friend, as we both follow hard after God and seek him through his Word. May we feast on His Word for the rest and the reward we will find there is the greatest of treasures.

If you don't know where to start, the book of John is an amazing book even if you have read it before. I challenge you, as I once was, to read the whole book through 5 times. It took me over 3 months but there were new treasures ready to be mined each time. Why not start there?

If your hungry soul has been encouraged, I would love to hear from you and pray for you as you delve back into God's Word. Just leave a comment below. I would be honored to be a part of what the Lord is doing in your life!

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