Life has been so crazy here these last weeks (well, about a month and a half, actually), and I find myself feeling like Bilbo Baggins when he talked about butter scraped over too much bread. And (true confessions here), I'm finding myself more irritable, more exhausted, less patient, and a whole lot less joyful that I'd like to be as someone who loves and follows Christ.
But more than that, I find myself hungry. Starving. Ravenous for more of Jesus during this crazy/exhausting time. I need Him. I need Him to fill me full!
And so I was recalling this little story from when Jayden was younger, which reminds me how it is when life crowds out the Bread of Life and I'm starving for Him.
HUNGRY FOR GOD
By Marlo Schalesky
Stew bubbled on the stove. Cookies baked in the oven. Jello salad hardened in the refrigerator. The microwave dinged.
I balanced a pot on my hip, grabbed a wooden spoon, and called over my shoulder. “Hey, can someone check the sauce?”
My husband stuck his head through the kitchen doorway. “Smells good in here.”
I blew out a breath. “It’ll taste good too, if I can get it all ready in time. See if the sauce is hot.” I nodded toward the microwave then jabbed my spoon in the direction of the dining room. “Is the table set?”
“Sure is.” Bryan strode to the microwave and opened the door. “Sauce looks perfect. It’s steaming.”
“Great. Go ahead and take it to the table.” I glanced at the clock. In ten minutes, our guests would arrive. Ten minutes to stir and mix, taste and cook, prepare and place. Then, all I wanted to do was sit and feast, and enjoy getting to know the new family from church.
I stuck the wooden spoon into the stew and gave it a twist as Bryan lifted the sauce bowl out of the microwave and moved to the next room.
I turned back to the stew. Bubbles popped to the surface. It did smell good. I leaned over and took a deep breath.
A sniffle sounded behind me, followed by a tug on my pantleg.
I looked down.
Jayden glared up at me. His two-year-old lip quivered.
“What’s wrong, honey?”
He pointed toward the living room. “Sister mean.”
He folded his arms across his chest. “Took toy.”
I sighed. “Did she take your penguin toy away again?”
He stared at the floor. “I no like penguin.”
“But it’s your favorite.”
“No like.” He sat down and scowled. Tears rolled down his cheeks.
“Well, our friends are coming in just a minute. Maybe you want to go put together a puzzle while we wait.”
“No like puzzle.”
“How about your blocks, then? Sister won’t take your blocks.”
“No like blocks.”
“Your train set?”
“Yes, I see that.” I stood back up and took the stew off the stove. Then, I picked up a ladle and spooned the stew into a large serving terrine.
I glanced down. “Stew. You want some?”
He sniffed. “Like stew.”
Ah, that was the problem. Jayden was hungry. And like his daddy, he got grumpy when when he was overdue to eat.
I ladled a bit of stew into a small bowl, blew it cool, and set it on the kitchen table. “Sit on up and eat.”
Five minutes later, he licked his lips, pushed back his empty bowl, and grinned. “I play sisters now. We play penguin. Puzzles too.”
“Okay, you go play.”
He trotted off.
As I carried the stew terrine to the dining room table, I wondered if it wasn’t only Jayden and Bryan who got cranky when they were hungry. Maybe I was that way too.
Jesus said, “I am the bread of life. He who comes to me will never go hungry...” (John 6:35, NIV)
So when I’m anxious and irritable, when nothing seems right, when I “no like” life, maybe I’m just hungry for more of Jesus. Perhaps it’s not about sister being mean, or the penguin, or the puzzle. Maybe it’s just about needing to gobble up more scripture, chew on more truth, do more than just nibble at the corners of my prayer life. Perhaps I need to fill up on more time with God, tasting the goodness of His presence with me.
These days when my husband seems inconsiderate, when I don’t like my job, when people don’t treat me like I think they should, before I start casting blame, I try to remember Jayden and make sure I’m all filled up. Then, I can go out and play with a much better attitude, even if someone is just a little bit mean.