Desire Fulfilled

“Blessed are those who hunger and thirst for righteousness, for they shall be filled.”  {Matthew 5:6}

This verse has been brought to my attention over and over during these first few weeks of the new year. First through my Bible-in-a-year reading plan, later when I listened to a series of great sermons  by James MacDonald, and still again in conversations with a dear friend (regarding fasting) and my husband bringing up other words of Christ from later in Matthew: “Seek first the kingdom of God and His righteousness and all these things shall be added to you.” I have sensed the Lord moving me to meditate on these words, and to dig a little deeper into what they mean, and how He would have me live by them. 

Reading through the Beattitudes in Matthew 5, I long to be among the “blessed” – those who shall see God, be called sons of God, those peacemakers and pure in heart, those meek saints! Those who are persecuted? Those who mourn and are poor in spirit? Now that is harder. But “yes, Lord, yes!” The first shall be last and the last first, and my thinking and living keeps getting all backwards and wrong, and needing to be righted. I need the renewing of my mind. Yet as I read these verses, verse 6 jumps out at me and I feel as if “yes, this is me! I can be among these blessed!”

“Blessed are those who hunger and thirst for righteousness, for they shall be filled.” 

And oh, what a promise. A desire fulfilled. A hope deferred makes the heart sick, but a desire fulfilled is a tree of life, the old Proverb goes. I have had too much of this sickness, too much of this longing that is never satisfied.

Lately my struggle with discontentment has reared it’s ugly head. When will we have a normal life and job and car? Why do I have a couch that looks like it should be out on someone’s curb. Why do I have to constantly “make-do” with less? As I was hearing these thoughts and voicing them, I realized that I have had expectations of what life should be like, without really even thinking about it. It made me realize that these material things feel so important to me, but when I stop and think about it – they’re truly not where I find joy. They’re not what matters most to me. I don’t even think I’d really be happier if our circumstances were to instantly change.

So why this unhappiness? Why the empty feelings? I think my emotional lament for a different life has been something of a deceptive trick…a facade when I have been gnawingly hungry for something else. I want joy. I want happiness. I want blessing. I want contentment. I want to be filled.

“Why do you spend your money for that which is not bread, and your labor for that which does not satisfy? Listen diligently to me, and eat what is good. Delight yourself in rich foods.” {from Isaiah 55}
There is a hunger within me, and within you. We were made for God. There are myriad things we try to “fill” ourselves with. What might it be for you, or for me? A friend of mine goes shopping when she feels down. Some people (I may or may not be of this camp 🙂 – ha!) just cannot start their day without a certain routine, perhaps a cup of coffee, a perusal of Facebook, etc. Often we seek comfort in food, in relationships, in intimacy with a lover. Don’t we all want to be satisfied in the deepest places of our soul?
Who are the people who are satisfied? Who are the happy, the blessed? “They are the people whose hunger and thirst has been for righteousness, people who have craved for the grace to be merciful, people who have yearned for radical purity of thoughts and feelings, people who have passionately desired to make peace.” (John Piper)
“Blessed are those who hunger and thirst for righteousness,  for they shall be filled.”
As I shared with my husband some of my sad, heavy emptiness, he asked me if perhaps I needed to ask the Lord to change my expectations and desires. Not lower them, mind you, our Lord can do infinitely more than we ask or expect and His thoughts are far higher than mine. But perhaps my heavy sadness has come in part from having desires unfulfilled, desires that even if fulfilled, would still leave me feeling hungry. I want rather, to hunger and thirst for righteousness. Then being filled is a guarantee.
God who made my soul certainly knows how to fill it. The soul was made to hunger and thirst for righteousness.
In this new year, and for however many years the Lord may give us before his return, I pray that we will identify those things that we try to fill ourselves with and not “eat” on other things, but instead grow hungry, grow thirsty – for we shall be filled! Hallelujah! Is the filling in this life, or in eternity future? Both, I think. Certainly to the fullest measure in heaven.
Looking unto that day, when we shall see him face to face,
❤ jc

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