“Then Jesus was led by the Spirit into the wilderness to be tempted by the devil. After fasting forty days and forty nights, he was hungry. The tempter came to him and said, ‘If you are the Son of God, tell these stones to become bread.’ Jesus answered, ‘It is written: ‘Man shall not live on bread alone, but on every word that comes from the mouth of God.'”Matthew 4:1-4 (NIV)
Every year, Lent is a little different for me. This time I find my thoughts turning often to Jesus’ 40 days in the wilderness. To his hunger and thirst. To what he was tempted with, and how he responded. Thinking about what his core heart’s desire was. Thinking about what most filled him. And thinking about my own hunger and thirst, and talking with God and reflecting on what the Word has to say about all of that. Thinking about my felt lack in all its forms, and reflecting on God’s provision.
Now and then my prayers can sound like, “Lord, turn these stones in my life into the bread I’m craving.” In those moments of hunger and thirst, though, I find myself recognizing more and more when something more foundational in me is crying out to be filled.
Nothing but Jesus can meet my deepest desires and my most core needs in a lasting way. Nothing else can truly fill me all the way up. Not praise, not recognition, not my name on a book cover, not even those people dearest to me. There will always be core depths that none of those blessings can ever reach. All of those gifts are so good, but they were never meant to comprise our identities or foundations.
“On Christ, the solid rock, I stand;Edward Mote, 1834
all other ground is sinking sand,
all other ground is sinking sand.”
The ground I’m standing on these days feels so firm, so steady. My truest hunger and thirst satisfied over and over. The coming and going of all the rest doesn’t take my feet out from under me like it used to. Those aren’t the stones I’m standing on.
“I searched the world but it couldn’t fill me. Man’s empty praise and treasures that fade are never enough. Then You came along and put me back together. And every desire is now satisfied here in Your love. Oh, there’s nothing better than You…”Graves Into Gardens, Brandon Lake
Father, only you can fill me. Here I am, casting my crowns at your feet. You are my daily bread. Thank you for providing for my heart and life again and again. You are my more-than-enough.
Cheryl Velk is the author of the book Garden Songs: A Spiritual Formation Field Journal. Follow her on Instagram.
Tags: jesus, lent, prayer, spiritual formation
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