I'm trying to develop the habit of taking easy to fix lunches that don't kill me and leave me somewhat satisfied. Fulfilling all of those requirements is more of a trick than I thought but I feel as though I've made some headway thanks to oatmeal. Seeing as how I'm not a "foody", cook, critic, health expert, nutritionist or personal trainer I'll gratefully leave the conversation about my lunch now except to tell you that as I write this I'm not hungry. Which is to say that my appetite has been satisfied - not lost.
Why does that matter? Sometimes I've found that I can quickly confuse physical feelings with spiritual ones - or maybe it's the other way around. Am I at peace because I've finally made an important decision or is it the peace that comes from God and surpasses all understanding like it talks about in Philippians? Am I feeling satisfied in the Lord's presence or simply because of food's presence in my belly? For what it's worth I believe it is completely possible for us to feel physically and spiritually satisfied, the two are not inherently opposed but it is important to understand the difference. Why? Well consider Jesus' words in John 4:13, 14 "Jesus answered, "Everyone who drinks this water will be thirsty again,
but whoever drinks the water I give him will never thirst. Indeed, the water I give him will become in him a spring of water welling up to eternal life." Listen to him again a little later on in John 6:26-29 "Jesus answered, "I tell you the truth, you are looking for me, not because you saw miraculous signs but because you ate the loaves and had your fill.
Do not work for food that spoils, but for food that endures to eternal life, which the Son of Man will give you. On him God the Father has placed his seal of approval."
Then they asked him, "What must we do to do the works God requires?"
Jesus answered, "The work of God is this: to believe in the one he has sent."
Being satisfied because of Christ is always long lasting. In fact I'm pretty sure that when I've found myself feeling unsatisfied it has had everything to do with me, not him. I've wandered. I've moved away. I've looked elsewhere. He's been there the whole time waiting for me to figure it out and at times intervening to help open my eyes.
I love what the sons of Korah write in Psalm 84:10 "Better is one day in your courts than a thousand elsewhere; I would rather be a doorkeeper in the house of my God than dwell in the tents of the wicked." I've sung the first phrase of that verse many times and found it easy to embrace. The second half clarifies, qualifies and challenges it though. To be someone of little status can still bring deep, lasting joy? To the point that it is preferred over having a place of honor in any other place? Look, take off your CVGs for a minute (Christian Vision Glasses) and don't just rubber stamp the end of the verse where it talks about the wicked. Of course no one who loves God would want anything to do with anything wicked, I get it and I'm with you but sometimes wicked things can appear... well ... inviting?
Here's the deal. Most, if not all of us desire to be appreciated, applauded and esteemed by our peers. We desire to have our needs met, physical and otherwise. We chase after things searching for feelings of pure delight and enlightenment. The psalmist is saying that being someone of low status, a doorkeeper, in God's house is more desirable than being a "great" person in any other house.
If you're popularity is stripped away but you get to remain in His house - Are you okay with that?
If you're health is snatched from you but you stay with Jesus - How does that add up?
If you're income is reduced or eliminated but Christ stays - Is He sufficient?
If no one ever thought your idea was the right one, or even one worth listening to but you get to be a part of God's family - would you prefer it?
Not everything in my life is going just the way I'd like it to at the moment but I'm okay with it. I'm even thankful for it. God's got it. The harder stuff will be dealt with and He'll still be there no matter what. I know, I just had lunch so maybe it's the oatmeal... nah...
I'm in His house.