This is one hungry deer.
I have a cracker in my hand, and he knows it. He came out from among the trees as soon as he saw me, and there he stands, yearning, his tongue out and ready. Every muscle, every bit of attention he’s got is trained in my direction. I can feel the force of his thought: “feed me, feed me, feed me!”
I know it’s not good to feed wild animals, but how can I resist that face?
As I snap the photo, wanting to save that look of longing, I think of God. What he must feel, when we turn our hungry souls in his direction and aim our longings at his hand!
Come into the Word: Matthew 7:7-12
Ask, and it will be given you; seek, and you will find; knock, and it will be opened to you. For every one who asks receives, and he who seeks finds, and to him who knocks it will be opened. Or what man of you, if his son asks him for bread, will give him a stone? Or if he asks for a fish, will give him a serpent? If you then, who are evil, know how to give good gifts to your children, how much more will your Father who is in heaven give good things to those who ask him! So whatever you wish that men would do to you, do so to them; for this is the law and the prophets.
Read Matthew 7:7-12 a few times. It tells us so much about God:
- He is our Father. And fathers love and look after their children.
- He loves us.
- He is good.
- He pays attention, he’s available to us. He hears us when we ask.
- He gives good things to us. He does not ignore our requests.
- He wants us to ask!
And like me with that deer, only far more so, God longs to satisfy our longing. It gives him pleasure when we come to him with our wants and needs.
Jesus was encouraging his disciples to take their needs to God, when he used this analogy of a child asking his father for bread or a fish. Notice that he says the Father gives “good things.” Not necessarily the bread or fish that are on the child’s mind, but something “good” of the Father’s choosing. And you can bet it won’t be a stone or a snake! Nothing bad will come from the Father’s hand.
Notice also the point of the story: we are to be like the Father. Not just with our children, which should come naturally, but with “men.” With others in our lives, who have needs and longings like ours and like our children’s. “So whatever you wish that men would do to you, do so to them; for this is the law and the prophets” (vs. 12). In other words, here’s something that sums up all the rest of the Bible: do unto others what you wish they would do to you. Love like the Father. Give like the Father. Not stones, not snakes, but “good things.” Look on the longing of those around you with attentive, loving hearts. Return their hungry stares with the heart-felt compassion of God.
© 2017 Sarah Christmyer
You might also enjoy these posts:
- Thirsty? Choose Where to Go with your Longing
- Thirsting for God
- Desire: the Heart of Prayer
- The Proper Goal of Desire: God
- Five Steps from Desire to Delight