I spend a lot of days home alone with the kids, and some days they completely melt down. (To be fair, they are not always alone in the meltdown.) “Suicide hours,” my mom calls them. If you add in the Fed-Ex truck making the dog bark and the usual messes—spilled juice, markers gone off the paper, and toy cars underfoot, you’ve got yourself a Calgon moment (“Calgon, take me away!) When the screaming gets to be too much, what do I do? I reach for a cookie. Or three.
I know I’m not the only one who turns to the comforting power of a cookie or a bowl of ice-cream when emotions are running high. It’s certainly not the worst way in the world to deal with stress, but aren’t there better ways?
It turns out that God created us hungry. God created us with a yearning, a “God-shaped hole” that only he can fill. God created us with a hunger for his presence and a thirst for his peace that stays with us our whole lives, that drives us to keep seeking until it is filled.
Unfortunately, we often mistake our God-hunger for cookie-hunger or beer-thirst. Instead of turning to God when the pressures of the day finally get to us, we turn to other creature comforts. We eat too much. We drink too much. We spend too much.
And seeking to fill ourselves up, we end up hungrier and hungrier.
I wonder what would happen if, while the kids were melting down, instead of reaching for a cookie, I sat down with the kids to pray? What would happen if I substituted a camp song for that second bowl of ice-cream?
I’m going to try it this month. And I suspect that I already know how the experiment will turn out. God is going to find ways to surprise me, to blow my expectations out of the water. I know that by turning to Him instead of to snacks to ease my frustration, I’ll be blessed. And my kids will be blessed. What better lesson can a parent teach a child than to turn to God when the going gets tough?
Spiritual hunger—it’s good for us to see it in ourselves. As we recognize the hunger for God that He has built into us, we can begin to reorient our lives toward Him so that we might be filled. May you be blessed with hunger, and with God’s peace that passes all understanding.