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Topic: Hunger (11/08/04)
TITLE: Everything and Nothing
By Debbie OConnor
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Anna squirmed in the chair, trying to get comfortable. She wanted to make sure Emily was really out before she put her to bed. "I wish John would come home," she thought, even though she knew it would be hours yet. It was too late to call anyone, and it was unlikely Emily would be well enough to go to church tomorrow. She sighed and reached for her Bible.
She turned to a familiar passage in Psalms, “How lovely is your dwelling place, O LORD Almighty! My soul yearns, even faints, for the courts of the LORD.” It was the cry of her heart.
“Dear Father,” she prayed quietly, “please heal my baby. I want her well and I want to come to church in the morning. I miss you, I miss church and I miss my friends.”
Anna rocked a while longer. Finally, she laid Emily in her crib and went to the kitchen and began listlessly loading the dishwasher. As she worked she reflected on the changes that had recently taken place in her life.
Just three years earlier, Anna had been one of the leaders of a locally popular Christian single’s ministry. The core group led a weekly Bible study, coordinated service projects, hosted monthly socials and published a newsletter together. Most of the leaders attended the same church where they were active in other ministries as well. Anna’s whole life was about serving God alongside her friends and she was very happy. The only things she still wanted were a husband and children.
That very year Anna began dating her friend, John, who was also part of the single’s ministry. They rapidly became engaged and married several months later. Within the first year of their marriage, Anna became pregnant. She and John were delighted, but Anna was amazed at how marriage and pregnancy dominated her life. She loved God as much as ever, but there were so many things to do.
Anna and John’s relationship began well. They prayed and read the Bible together daily. John was a worship leader, and Anna often told people that she and John fell in love as they sang love songs to God together. After Anna became pregnant, John gradually became more focused on providing for their family financially. He worked hard, came home tired and their prayer and worship time declined. Anna’s pregnancy was difficult. She was often to ill to work or attend church. Once Emily came they were so busy caring for their child that even their individual devotions suffered.
At the same time several of Anna’s closest friends were also getting married and starting families. The fellowship that was such an integral part of her walk with God was disrupted.
Anna was desperate. She couldn’t remember a time since she had met Christ when she felt so hungry for fellowship. She was angry with herself. She had been given everything she wanted and still she felt empty.
She stopped loading the dishwasher and picked up her Bible. She turned to Psalms again, crying as she read, “My soul thirsts for God, for the living God. When can I go and meet with God? My tears have been my food day and night…These things I remember as I pour out my soul: how I used to go with the multitude, leading the procession to the house of God, with shouts of joy and thanksgiving among the festive throng. Why are you downcast, O my soul? Why so disturbed within me? Put your hope in God, for I will yet praise him, my Savior and my God.”
As Anna read the passage she felt the familiar, comforting presence of her Savior. She got on her knees and began to worship. “Oh Lord,” she prayed. “I love you so much. You are all I need. You truly are the ‘bread of life.’” Filled with joy, Anna’s tears turned to laughter. She got up and turned on the stereo. She sang love songs to God as she filled her dishwasher.
(Ps 84:1-2a; Ps 42:2-5, Jn 6:48 NIV)