I was eating breakfast yesterday according to my normal custom: still in stinky workout clothes, alone (fortunately for everyone else) at the table, reading glasses perched on my nose, and nose in my devotional guide. Oh, and two little exceptionally needy dogs looking up at me with complete adoration, as though to say to me, “Do you still love us today?”
Call it whimsy or nostalgia or longing or maybe even the blues, but something just wasn’t sitting well deep within.
All was well in my world. In fact, I had just, immediately before I cut into my boiled egg, bowed my head and sincerely thanked God with an unusual sense of gratitude for all the ways He has blessed me. I mean I didn’t just say a blessing. I got extremely, sincerely grateful before my God and bowed before Him with such a full heart I thought it would burst. I don’t know what had overcome me, but it was just one of those rare times when no one had to tell me to count my blessings; they were clearly numbered before me and I was amazed.
So it had been one of those kinds of moments.
But now, all of a sudden, from out of nowhere, I felt sad, nostalgic, lonely, and blue.
I call that the grumblings of a soul hunger. In the same manner that my stomach sounded like it was searching through the wrappers for a morsel to eat the other night just before dinner, my heart was aching out loud with the distant rumblings of discontent…just moments after I had recounted all that God had given me.
Do you ever feel that way? That strange discontent? That nostalgic longing for something you can’t quite put a finger on?
When I feel that way, I often jump to the activity of, instead of counting my blessings, counting my missings. Missings: those things you are constantly missing because no one has been so good as to give them to you lately or even yet. e.g. appreciation, companionship, recognition, forgiveness, blessing and favor, an apology, what have you. Counting your missings would, of course, be just the opposite of counting your blessings. Oh, and missings are not really soul hungers…they’re flesh hungers in disguise!
I did that for a minute. I counted my missings, naming them one by one, searching for the culprit of my hungry soul. But then, I realized I was going down the wrong road. Tracking my missings rarely satisfies my aching soul. It only makes me more discontented.
That’s when I realized a truth I long ago learned, but rarely remember in such moments.
Like most poetic prose, this scripture isn’t easy for me to navigate, but the best commentaries I’ve read on it indicate that Solomon was speaking of this exact nostalgic longing I was experiencing yesterday morning…and so many other mornings for that matter. The bottom line is this: We are living on a certain point on God’s eternal time line, and everything is good and sweet in that moment if we are trusting in the Lord and leaning into Him and living in the moment. But at the same time, there is something in us that knows there is more.
There is something in us that longs for the big picture, longs to fully comprehend all that God has for us, longs to completely grasp all that He wants to teach and show us, and longs to unreservedly take hold of all He has blessed us with in the heavenlies.
Yes, there is something in us that longs to know our God fully, to comprehend His greatness completely, to understand His love for us in the depths of our souls and not just our heads. We want to know and be known.
And while we can have a taste of such completeness, such divine resolution now, we won’t completely know and comprehend and experience and grasp all that there is to be grasped until the veil has been lifted and we see Him face to face.
So here’s the lesson in all this.
There are some hungers of the soul which will not be completely satisfied until we meet our Jesus face to face. We will always have unexplainable and unpredictable moments of complete longing until we arrive at the great wedding banquet of the saints.
And that’s ok. You need to know that. I need to remember that. Otherwise, we dash around trying to feed that holy hunger with completely unholy substitutes…all those missings I mentioned earlier. In fact, we’re prone to demand those missings from other people. And if they don’t cooperate, we get angry and resentful. When all along our soul is simply reminding us that “this life is just the appetizer, honey…don’t you go spoiling your appetite for dinner with too much chips and dip!” Indeed, there is more. We’re hungry for it. And that’s ok. Be a hungry woman!
Do you relate to this nostalgic longing for something more? Do you have any suggestions for how to tame the grumbling in your soul without “spoiling your appetite for dinner?”