The shelves at the store have been a little bare these days. The toilet paper aisle is decimated. Shopping for flour, mac and cheese, rice, and fresh meat feels like a scavenger hunt. Hand sanitizer has become liquid gold. For many, lost jobs and paychecks make hunger a real threat. That is why in this season of scarcity, we don’t take for granted that our well-stocked pantry and refrigerator are filled with good things. Yet as our family is nourished by satisfying meals day after day, the Spirit nudges my heart with this question:
Do you have a full plate but an empty heart?
The Word describes our heart-longings so well:
“…hungry and thirsty, their soul fainted within them.
Then they cried to the Lord in their trouble,
and he delivered them from their distress.
Let them thank the Lord for his steadfast love,
for his wondrous works to the children of man!
For he satisfies the longing soul,
and the hungry soul he fills with good things.
Whoever is wise, let him attend to these things;
let them consider the steadfast love of the Lord.”
A “longing soul” sounds about right, doesn’t it? My heart is so hungry for hugs from my grown kids and extended family. My spirit is starved for a full sanctuary on Sunday morning, raising our arms in worship side by side. I crave the chance to pull off the virus-shielding masks that hide our smiles and muffle our conversation. Like you, I’m eager for the churning waves of sickness, financial disaster, and discord to ease for our communities. Deep down, I’m longing for grace for all the ways I’m not enough for the ones who need me most.
No amount of social distancing or soap, social media or entertainment, or money and security can ease the ache inside. I want to find “food” that fills up the empty places inside of me. In the search, I’ve found that every shelf and cupboard and table is bare except for one. Jesus is laying out a feast in the middle of this poverty of our souls. He’s sitting us down so he can heap good things onto our plates and fill our cups ’til they spill over onto the tablecloth. All we have to do is put our napkin in our laps and pick up a fork.
What good things can we feast on today?
Jesus offers mercy that forgives when we lose patience with our kids. Strength to get up and keep going every morning. Hope and help when our resources are vanishing. Companionship in our isolation and loneliness. Rock-solid truth when all we hear is crazy talk on every screen. An attentive, listening ear to every single prayer we cry. Assurance that in this “valley of death”–the death of plans and security and health and freedom–God is with us, offering all the comfort and courage we need. He gives a fresh perspective to see our trials as hidden blessings in our life. Jesus holds an unlimited supply of nourishment for our souls, so he serves up greater joy and peace than any of the world’s crumbs can offer.
What is your heart craving today? What emptiness are you calling on God to fill? Pray with us here, and know we’re here ready and waiting to pray with you and for you every day.
Lord, teach me to sit at your table. I can have a full plate but an empty heart in these difficult days. I’ve swallowed “food” that doesn’t satisfy the needs of my soul, so fill me as only you can. Make me grateful and content in your love. Give me an appetite for the bread of your Word while I drink deeply from the living water of Christ. Make be grateful and content in your love, since I can find all I need in you. Amen.