In times of famine and drought, the thoughts of a man dwell constantly on food and drink. When scorching winds blow and the rays of the sun beat down without mercy, he dreams of a renewal of his strength and soothing refreshment.
I believe us to be today in such a famine and drought. We wrestle with such a profound spiritual poverty that we are finding ourselves empty and parched for something that gives peace in the valley of sorrow and fear — a valley through which we tread and yearn for something that grants us hope beyond the grave. Too often we seek to satisfy our longings with temporary fixes, but end up unfulfilled, empty, lonely and broken.
“… A hungry man dreams he is eating and awakes with his hunger not satisfied, or as when a thirsty man dreams he is drinking and awakes faint, with his thirst not quenched …” (Isaiah 29:8 ESV).
But a genuine relationship with God through Jesus Christ is both fulfilling and refreshing. Becoming His child through obedient faith in His atoning death on the cross and His resurrection, we must come to understand that we are doing far more than merely adopting a “Christian” philosophy, worldview, or lifestyle. We have entered into a covenantal relationship with God Himself. Having “saved” us through faith in Christ by grace, He both seals us for His divine purposes and glory, and sets us apart as royal members of His own heavenly household.
“In him you also when you heard the word of truth, the gospel of your salvation, and believed in Him, were sealed with the promised Holy Spirit, Who is the guarantee of our inheritance until we acquire possession of it, to the praise of His glory” (Ephesians 1:13-14 ESV).
Knowing then that we have been set apart as special recipients of God’s favor, we can reasonably expect to find that He is more than sufficient in satisfying our deepest soul-wracking hungers and spirit-parching thirsts. The most fundamental secret then to lasting happiness is to not turn to temporal alternatives. Material and shallow substitutes may momentarily appease our appetites but they can do no more than simply distract us from our inevitable collision with eternity. Nor can we afford to play “Let’s Make a Deal” with other religions, their promises of everlasting hope and peace being mere curtains over “Door Number Three” into destruction and endless judgment, a day of reckoning with a God Who is holy.
If you are God’s child then “you are not in darkness, brothers, for that day to surprise you like a thief. For you are all children of light, children of the day. We are not of the night or of the darkness. So then let us not sleep, as others do, but let us keep awake and be sober. For those who sleep, sleep at night, and those who get drunk, are drunk at night. But since we belong to the day, let us be sober, having put on the breastplate of faith and love, and for a helmet the hope of salvation. For God has not destined us for wrath, but to obtain salvation through our Lord Jesus Christ, Who died for us so that whether we are awake or asleep we might live with Him. Therefore encourage one another and build one another up, just as you are doing” (1 Thessalonians 5:4-11 ESV).
There is an urgency today that cries out to us that we set our affairs in order, stop delaying in our obedience to God, and wholeheartedly trust His love, His power, and His wisdom. And, happily, to learn to walk with Him now (though we may have all our lives ahead of us) allows our journey to joyfully blend with His activity — His mission to reveal His love, power, and holiness to the world.
And besides, when we’ve become His children and begin to walk with Him in the here-and-now, we come to know Him personally and intimately. As we dwell in His Word, seek Him in prayer, and follow His leading as He shepherds our hearts, we not only have opportunities to see His hand at work but also occasions of His glorious presence revealed to us.
So stop, look and listen. Stop running the wild race of life on your own. And stop seeking satisfaction in things that aren’t going to have any lasting value. Stop putting God off, telling Him that “one day you’ll give Him your heart.”
Stop … and look up and know that your Creator yearns to give you real hope that the world can’t steal away from you. Look to His Word for encouragement, direction, and for transformation as He establishes His holy presence in you. Look around with eyes opened by His love and see the needs of countless scores about you that the Lord would love to bless if only you, His child, would take the time.
Look … and listen to what God has to say about you, your inestimable value in His sight, and His purposes to bless and keep you. Listen with an open heart to His Holy Spirit’s prompting inside of you towards holiness, courage, and compassion. Listen to His voice as He leads you, His precious child, in ways of peace and hope. Listen as He shares His words of comfort and encouragement with your hurting and weary soul.
Let this be the day that you stop in your tracks, turn to Him, and start anew knowing that His Word of life and truth is everlastingly trustworthy.
And Jesus said to those gathered around Him … “Heaven and earth will pass away, but My words will not pass away. But concerning that day or that hour, no one knows, not even the angels in heaven, nor the Son, but only the Father. Be on guard, keep awake. For you do not know when the time will come. It is like a man going on a journey, when he leaves home and puts his servants in charge, each with his work, and commands the doorkeeper to stay awake. Therefore stay awake — for you do not know when the Master of the house will come, in the evening, or at midnight, or when the cock crows, or in the morning — lest He come suddenly and find you asleep. And what I say to you I say to all: Stay awake’” (Mark 13:31-37 ESV).
Pastor Thom Mollohan leads Pathway Community Church and may be reached for comments or questions by email at firstname.lastname@example.org.