Last Sunday, something very unusual happened – I was off work. Everyone else was at work or out of town, so I had most of the day to myself. I opted to go to church with a sweet friend who then invited me to lunch. Afterwards, we went to her house to just hang out and catch up.
We were exploring through her craft room, which is still partially packed up after a recent move, and stumbled across a box of wedding decorations. Her son recently got married and she knows we’re in the midst of wedding planning at our house (my baby girl is getting married!) and thought I might get a few ideas for the decorations. I had been on the prowl for some vintage bottles to use as vases, so when she unearthed what appeared to be an old bottle, then another, then another – all identical – I asked if I could have them. The shape was perfect for what I was looking for!
She pointed out that they had twine hot glued to the top. “Yeah, well, I’ll pull it off,” I insisted. She then looked at me, laughing, and asked, “you do know what that is, right?” Ummmm…no? Frappuccino bottles. You know – the stuff made by Starbucks and sold…well…everywhere. She graciously agreed to continue drinking them to get more bottles!
It was a funny moment, realizing that what I had been searching for all along was common and readily available, but I had been simply looking in the wrong place.
I see a lesson in that.
So often, I catch myself looking for fulfillment. I run from one thing to the next, searching for that thing that will make me fill enough, loved, needed. My body will get worn out while my heart still feels needy. My schedule will be full, but I will feel empty. I end up feeling like a pinball being kicked around the machine. Ding, zing, whap- around and around I go, never seeming to find the rest I need. Fortunately, God is faithful and will slow His stubborn child down and remind me that that longing I have can only be filled by Him. Only by resting in His presence will I find what I need to function well in this life.
In the Old Testament, David can be found doing the same thing. He was called a man after God’s heart, yet time and again, we see him looking to people for fulfillment rather than God. But, his heart always returned back to the Only One who could fulfill him. He was faithful in writing the ups and downs so we could learn from them. In Psalm 16, we read his hearts cry:
1Preserve me, O God, for I take refuge in You. 2I said to the LORD, “You are my Lord; I have no good besides You.” 3As for the saints who are in the earth, They are the majestic ones in whom is all my delight. 4The sorrows of those who have bartered for another god will be multiplied; I shall not pour out their drink offerings of blood, Nor will I take their names upon my lips. 5The LORD is the portion of my inheritance and my cup; You support my lot. 6The lines have fallen to me in pleasant places; Indeed, my heritage is beautiful to me. 7I will bless the LORD who has counseled me; Indeed, my mind instructs me in the night. 8I have set the LORD continually before me; Because He is at my right hand, I will not be shaken. 9Therefore my heart is glad and my glory rejoices; My flesh also will dwell securely. 10For You will not abandon my soul to Sheol; Nor will You allow Your Holy One to undergo decay. 11You will make known to me the path of life; In Your presence is fullness of joy; In Your right hand there are pleasures forever. (NASB)
Did you read that carefully? David is realizing that everything he needs can be found in God. My friends, until we make that realization, we will be like me looking for an elusive bottle. No matter how many “junk” and antique stores, I looked, I couldn’t find it. The absurdity of the fact that they were literally at my fingertips all the time at work astounded me. God’s love and presence are much like that. We can go everywhere looking for what is simply a whispered prayer away. The song “By My Side” by Tenth Avenue North says it so well.
So. Where are you looking for love, joy, peace, fulfillment? Is it in relationships? Job? Alcohol? Drugs? Vacations? Houses? Cars? Sports? Clothes? Or in the million other places we find people looking? You won’t find it in any of those places. Quit running and reach out to God. His love and presence are readily available. And He’s waiting for you.
Be blessed and tell someone you love them.