Taste and see that the LORD is good (Psalm 34:8a — NIV).

The other day I witnessed something peculiar, yet profoundly analogous to a particular struggle of mine. As I sat on my porch swing reading, I heard the familiar sound of a hummingbird. Looking up, I discovered it right before me, only feet away, with its beak in a tiny Christmas LED light bulb. (Yes, we leave the difficult-to-hang icicle lights up all year round.) Finding no nectar, it moved on to another bulb. Then another. And another. Ironically, hanging only inches away was a lovely flowering plant with nectar in abundance. Still, the little bird flew home hungry, never having discovered that which it desired. Its longing to satisfy hunger and thirst wasn’t wrong. On the contrary, such was placed within it by its Creator; yet its desire went unmet because it looked for fulfillment in the wrong place despite the reality of sustenance so nearby.

I’m like that hummingbird far too often, searching for fulfillment in the wrong places. Trying to find satisfaction in the approval of others. In frivolous activities that only leave me hungrier. Thirstier. Perhaps I’m not alone. The longings themselves are not often the real problem, as many of our deepest desires were placed within us by our loving and good Abba. It’s what we do with them however— how we allow them to control our thoughts, guide our feelings and thus, mandate our actions — that becomes problematic. Like the hummingbird, we search for contentment and satisfaction in the wrong places, growing weary in our vain attempts when our longings can only truly be met in an abiding relationship with the One who alone can satisfy.  

(Photo Credit: Jeff Furton)

Jesus — our Bread of Life, the Living Water — is the One for whom we long. St. Augustine spoke rightly — “You [God] have made us for yourself, and our hearts are restless, until they can find rest in you.” And yet, to “taste and see” Him stirs within us a deeper longing; hence, perpetuating a holy hunger only satisfied as one abides in the LORD’s goodness. John Eldredge in his book The Journey of Desire says, “… we have only three options: 1) to be alive and thirsty, 2) to be dead, or 3) to be addicted… The Christian is called to the life of holy longing. But we don’t like to stay there. A.W. Tower perceived that ‘there is within the human heart a tough, fibrous root of fallen life whose nature is to possess, always to possess.’ And why do we seek to possess? So that we do not have to live in thirst, trusting our hearts each day to the goodness of God. To live in thirst is to live with an ache.”

Yes, a holy longing. A holy thirst. A holy ache. All part of this life of holiness we’re called to live, individually and as part of the Body of Christ. It’s our choice — to search for satisfaction in empty, lonely places and thus remain thirsty, hungry and hurting. Or to search for contentment in the One who alone will quench our frequent thirst, satisfy our on-going hunger and ease the burden of this life with His love — all the while leading us onward, toward Home. 

Personally, as part of my abiding, I desire to journey with kindred community  — discovering together that our insatiable hunger and thirst in this lifetime is always met with the never-ending goodness of our abundant God.

O, taste and see!