“Mom, I hungry. I want a snack,” my three-year-old son told me one afternoon. “Ok,” I replied. “I’ll fix you a snack.” I proceeded to make him a snack and set it on the kitchen table. A banana, some goldfish, and a cup of milk.
“Aden, your snack is ready. Come to the table,” I told him. Aden was playing on the floor with some toys. “No!” he bickered. “I want my snack on the floor. I playing.”
“Aden,” my voice soft but firm, “If you want your snack, you need to eat it at the table. Come to the table, please.”
“No! I want my snack on the floor!” Aden said again, this time a little louder and banging his hands on the floor, signaling the start of a five-minute-long toddler tantrum. He was determined to get his way. And every time I reminded him that he needed to come to the table to eat his snack, he would plead and cry out, “But I hungry!”
“I hungry, God.”
How many times have I asked God for help or for a blessing, but wanting it on my own terms? How many times have I held out in defiance, waiting for my own desires and expectations to be met, when God’s blessing was right in front of me the whole time?
God asks us to seek Him. That’s it. Not to seek our own desires, whether it’s financial security, relationships, the “perfect” opportunities, etc. He wants us to seek HIM. Daily. When we do that, He will fill our emptiness— He will feed our hunger— and He will show us the opportunities and blessings He wants us to partake in.
God says, “You will seek Me and find Me when you seek Me with all your heart.” (Jeremiah 29:13) God promises that we WILL find Him. But first, we must seek Him with our whole heart. We must come to the table.
What if we don’t like what’s at the table?
The Israelites walked in the wilderness for forty years. They were tired. They were hungry. They cried out to God and pleaded for food. God answered their cries and rained down manna from heaven. He met their needs. But even though God provided for the Israelites, they grumbled yet again. They quickly grew tired of the manna and asked for meat instead (Numbers 11).
Sometimes, when we come to the table, we don’t like what’s prepared for us. We want the chocolate cake, but God might give us brussels sprouts instead. Yes, brussels sprouts. God knows what is best for us, even when we don’t like it or understand it. He asks us to trust Him, obey Him, and to know that the brussels sprouts will eventually lead to chocolate cake, or whatever reward He has prepared for us.
“Yet what we suffer now is nothing compared to the glory He will reveal to us later.” (Romans 8:18) “ I press on to reach the end of the race and receive the heavenly prize for which God, through Christ Jesus, is calling us.” (Philippians 3:14)
Going back to the basics.
I feel a bit stranded in the wilderness myself right now. Struggling to find answers as I feel the weight of current unknowns. Asking God, “Where do you want my family and I to live?” “How and where do you want me to serve you?” “Where do you want me to focus my time and finances?” “How do you want me to raise my children?” Etc. etc.
So, I keep reminding myself to go back to the basics: TO SEEK GOD. Instead of seeking my own plans and desires, I need to daily seek God and to spend time with Him in His Word. Not because of the reward that awaits me, but because He is worthy of my praise and devotion. And the more in tune I am with Him, the easier it will be to hear His guidance and direction for my life.
Like Natalie Grant’s song, More Than Anything, says, “Help me want the Healer, more than the healing. Help my want the Savior, more than the saving. Help me want the Giver, more than giving. Help me want you Jesus, more than anything.”
Another song that keeps coming to me is Unspoken’s Just Give Me Jesus. The chorus says, “Just give me Jesus. There’s nothing I desire that can’t be found in You. You’re everything that I’ve ever needed. Just give me Jesus.”
Help me want YOU, Lord, more than anything and everything. Please take my hand in yours. Guide my steps so that I may walk in your ways and not mine. I trust that your way is better.
Trusting God one day at a time.
While the Israelites wandered in the wilderness, they were given food to last one day at a time. They weren’t allowed to store away any extra food (except for the Sabbath), and they had to trust that God would provide them with enough food for each day (Exodus 16). God did this to test their faith and to see if they could fully depend on Him and not on themselves. He wanted them to trust Him… every… single… day. In the same way, I need to seek God and rely on Him one day at a time.
I’ll be honest. It’s hard for me to wait, not knowing what the future holds. It’s very hard, especially when all I see are brussels sprouts sometimes. Yet out of obedience and devotion to God, I need to keep coming to the table, day after day after day. It’s not about the destination— it’s about the journey.
The more that I obediently follow and trust God— the more that I focus on the Giver and not on the giving— the more I start to appreciate the blessings He has already given me, realizing that my relationship with God is becoming richer and sweeter than any blessing or reward I could ever imagine.
It turns out, the chocolate cake has been in front of me all along. I just had to come to the table.