I hear her quiet footsteps coming down the steps, her soft voice quickly following:
I'm hungry, mama.
I smile. My heart melts as it always does when she announces a desire for food. My daughter's feeding disability not only prevents her from eating normally, but also from recognizing hunger pangs, so these rare words from her lips are especially sweet.
What can I get you for a snack, hon? Pudding? Yogurt?
I offer a wide array of options to satisfy her hunger, hoping one of them will strike her fancy.
No thank, mama. I'll just eat this pretend hamburger.
She picks up the brown, plastic disk off the floor. I pick up another piece of laundry. She pretends to munch away. I pretend that I'm not bothered by the whole exchange.
But I am. My heart breaks that when I offer her body real nourishment, she rejects it for something fake -- pretend food that will never nourish.
Yet I'm more like my daughter than I care to admit.
I too, regularly choose to indulge in something lesser, something pretend.
In a day spent constantly meeting the needs of dependent little ones, my energy tank runs dry, and my soul craves nourishment.
I need food that will sustain me through long hours and thankless tasks. I need encouragement, rest, strength, purpose, hope, a reason to persevere – yet I opt to feast on fake food. I busy myself with social media, texting, email. I indulge in hobbies, snacks, daydreaming. I fill up my soul with enough distractions to get me through until bedtime – and then curiously wonder why I’m still hungry after my house is quiet.
Perhaps we’re choosing the wrong nourishment.
Our merciful God extends a dinner invitation for malnourished souls like mine:
"Come, everyone who thirsts, come to the waters; and he who has no money - come, buy and eat!... Why do you spend your money for that which is not bread,
and your labor for that which does not satisfy?
Listen diligently to me, and eat what is good, and delight yourselves in rich food.
Incline your ear, and come to me; hear, that your soul may live..."
Your soul doesn't need a distraction. It needs real food -- God Himself. God holds out the promise of good, delightful, rich, satisfying food -- He offers Himself:
"Come to Me; hear, that your soul may live..." (vs 3)
True nourishment is never found in something, it’s always found in someone.
Put down the fake hamburger. Turn the iPhone on silent. Ignore the text. Let the remote lie untouched. They won’t fill you anyway.
Instead, come to Jesus. Find rest in Him. And allow the promises of His Word to nourish, strengthen, and encourage your soul.