I eat too fast. Drive too fast. Work too much. And expect too much of movies. I partly think it’s because deep inside I struggle to trust there will be enough for me. And so I grasp to make sure there is.
This was also why I ran so hard for so many years after pornography and other illicit sexual connections.
So it is with all of us every time we say ‘no’ to God and His Word and ‘yes’ to sinful cravings.
Why would we do this?
Some doubt whether He can give enough. My craving feels so deep, so physical, so infinite. Can He really satisfy me so?
For me, my struggle has always been a question of whether He wants to. God, I know you can, but will you, for me?
We, all of us, inherited some version of these doubts from our first forefathers. Add to this that we each have personal accounts of needs not being met, vulnerabilities being taken advantage of, and cravings that won’t go away.
So much of Christian life boils down to a choice between grasping and receiving.
The grasping heart mistrusts God cares about what you need and so seeks to supply for itself. Because if God does not care, there is really no motivating reason not to embrace a kind of nihilistic posture of, as Ecclesiastes puts it, “Eat, drink, and be merry, for tomorrow you die.”
The receptive heart settles itself not so much on man’s present experience as on God’s character revealed both in good gifts big and small (and many times illusive to the grasping heart), and in the life (and especially in the cross) of Christ.
The grasping heart wrestles with pain and grief as with hostile rulers threatening man’s own kingdom.
The receptive heart sees pain and grief as messengers expressing man’s need to both himself and to the One who is building a Kingdom and preparing there a place for you.
The grasping heart cannot rest, cannot be still, cannot be silent. Driven by the immediacy of cravings, it runs for the image, the distraction, the drug, the artificial. None satisfy. Eldredge points out that as we pursue our deepest, truest desire, we stop far too short and instead settle for that which numbs our desire.
The receptive heart chooses to wait. Even through the tumult of desire unmet, it chooses stillness, all that it might not miss the quiet Word, the Bread come from heaven, that which rains down on the evil and the good, that which is true Love and Fulfillment of all desire.
I am such a novice at this. Maybe you are, too, and it shows in how you eat, or drink, or work, or control, or lust, or . . .
This Advent, let’s begin by choosing again to wait.
Holy Spirit, wait with us, will You?
Waiting for more,