So, I’m exercising to this video….
And the guy in the t-shirt and running shoes prompts me with these cheesy catch-phrases when I’m pretty sure my lungs have stopped sucking in air. All I’m thinking is maybe I can reward myself for exercising with one of those cupcakes I baked with the kids yesterday….
Those shepherds didn’t have anything to bring when the angel told them to go see baby Jesus. They couldn’t give Him any presents, but they showed up with PRESENCE.
I’m out of breath, maybe a little light-headed, but he stretches those spiritual muscles with that thought. I forget about cupcake rewards or the number jumping jack that I’m on and I’m focused on this:
It’s not about what I bring to God, the quality or the quantity of what I do, my ministry resume or ‘success’ statistics.
It’s about presence. It’s about showing up day after day and moment by moment to be with Him, to commune with Christ in the daily.
I finish the video. Then I sip my water bottle and feel that thirst.
Funny thing about water. I don’t like it. I’ll drink most anything else instead of plain old water, but I push myself to drink it. I choose discipline.
And the more I drink, the more thirsty I feel. I start drinking my eight glasses of water a day and I feel thirstier than I’ve ever felt in my life. I can’t get enough.
Water. I just need more and more water.
I’m like the desert wanderer pulling himself across the burning sand in search of an oasis.
My husband says maybe my body was probably so dehydrated it had turned off the ‘thirst sensor.’ Now, though, it’s realizing, ‘This is what I’ve been missing! This is what I’ve needed!”
This presence, this time with God, in His Word, at His feet, in prayer, at worship, in my minivan, walking down Main Street, praying while doing dishes….Christ’s presence is what I need.
It’s what a parched soul longs for. That’s what David wrote when he pitched camp in the wilderness of Judah:
O God, You are my God;
Early will I seek You;
My soul thirsts for You;
My flesh longs for You
In a dry and thirsty land
Where there is no water
(Psalm 63:1 NKJV)
And the more I drink in Christ’s presence, the more I realize how thirsty I am for that Living Water.
We sing it in a chorus at church: Lord, I thirst for You. I long to be in Your presence.
I sing it in my worship time at home: Hungry I come to You for I know You satisfy. I am empty but I know Your love does not run dry. (Kathryn Scott–Hungry)
On this 12-month journey of pursuing the presence of Christ, I’ve chosen in March to Unplug, to take breaks from social media and to turn off that television. To replace the noise of the world with the beauty of Him.
As I do, I remember the promise He makes:
Blessed are those who hunger and thirst for righteousness,
For they shall be filled (Matthew 5:6 NKJV)
That’s what He promises to me. That when I bring Him my emptiness, the hunger the thirst, He will pour into me and satisfy and satiate even the most gnawing ache of starvation and the desperation of the deepest thirst.
But so often we’ve filled up that emptiness with junk and it tricks us into thinking that’s what we want, that’s what we need. A little quiet time is enough. A daily dose of a devotional and some Bible reading and we’re good. Who needs more than that?
Yet, the more I choose to exercise, the more my muscles ache when I take a day off. They long for the movement and the stretching.
The more I wrinkle up my nose and just drink that water down instead of choosing tea or juice or Coca-Cola, the more water I want.
The more I choose Bible study over TV and prayer over Facebook or I choose time in ministry or time in worship or time walking in the quiet over any noise, the less I long for anything else.
What begins as discipline and denial becomes joy and desire.
Maybe, just maybe, I don’t even want that cupcake…..
Heather King is a wife, mom, Bible Study teacher, writer and worship leader. Most importantly, she is a Christ follower with a desire to help others apply the Bible to everyday life with all its mess, noise, and busyness. Her book, Ask Me Anything, Lord: Opening Our Hearts to God’s Questions, is available now! To read more devotionals by Heather King, click here.
Copyright © 2014 Heather King