“And do you seek great things for yourself? Seek them not, for behold, I am bringing disaster upon all flesh, declares the Lord. But I will give you your life as a prize of war in all places to which you may go.” (Jeremiah 45:5 (ESV))
Don’t seek great things? I am bringing disaster upon all flesh!? What!? That’s a little harsh don't you think? But then he says “I will give you your life…” OK what is this all about?
Now of course there is a greater context to this verse, but I am not going to explore it at this point. Instead I am going to share with you my mediation on it…
When I read this verse this morning two New Testament passages came to my mind:
“Do not lay up for yourselves treasures on earth, where moth and rust destroy and where thieves break in and steal, but lay up for yourselves treasures in heaven […] Therefore I tell you, do not be anxious about your life […] But seek first the kingdom of God and his righteousness, and all these things will be added to you.” (Matthew 6:19-33)
“Then Jesus told his disciples, “If anyone would come after me, let him deny himself and take up his cross and follow me. For whoever would save his life will lose it, but whoever loses his life for my sake will find it. For what will it profit a man if he gains the whole world and forfeits his soul? Or what shall a man give in return for his soul?” (Matthew 16:24-26)
What do these three passages have in common? Well, the link I made this morning was:
Seeking not the things of this world, that in the end will be destroyed, and instead first seek the Kingdom, give up what I want for and in my life, instead go full-on for what God has placed in my life, trusting not only that he will give me life but that in this abandonment of my life is where I will find true life, life to the fullest! As Jesus said, “I came that they may have life and have it abundantly.” (John 10:10)
I asked myself, and I ask you “What am I seeking? caught up in? holding on to? not trusting God for?”
The first thought that came to my mind made my cringe a little, because I thought, “Oh gosh, really is everything about this!?” But alas if I am striving to be an honest and vulnerable writer I must share the somewhat embarrassing truth that yes the first thing that came to my mind when I asked “What am I seeking? caught up in? holding on to? not trusting God for?” was:
A husband and a family.
Not that these are negative things to want, by no means! They are beautiful and I think God given desires… but never the less in the passage related to the above Matthew passage Jesus says
“Whoever loves father or mother more than me is not worthy of me, and whoever loves son or daughter more than me is not worthy of me. And whoever does not take his cross and follow me is not worthy of me. Whoever finds his life will lose it, and whoever loses his life for my sake will find it.” (Matthew 10: 37-38)
This can be a somewhat complicated passage to understand, but how I understood it this morning in relation to my desire for a husband and a family, is that I am loving and desiring for a husband more than I am for Jesus, sure I love Jesus and I want to follow him with my whole life, but I want a husband and a family to be a part of that life, and the fact that they aren't makes me angry towards God as I feel that he is withholding something from me, I feel that he is in that regard withholding the fullness of life from me, I do not trust that without a husband and a family I can have a full life following Jesus…
That is the harsh, ugly, painful truth.
As I briefly explored my desire for a husband and a family I discovered that my underlining desires are to be loved, seen and heard, valued and appreciated, supported and cared for, and my fear is that I will be alone.
I believe these are all totally legitimate desires and fears, in fact I think this is how we are hardwired, to be in relation not only with God but also with other people, as “the Lord God said, ‘It is not good that the man should be alone’” (Genesis 2:18). I think that we are created to have some of these desires meet in relation with others…
Though “others” might not necessarily mean a husband and children. Maybe it means a rich and full community life. But that is a bigger conversation than I want to get into at the moment.
I will end with the question I asked of the Lord:
“Lord, how do I give up my desire for a husband?”
I felt him say to me:
“You don’t Maria, you give up the need to fulfill it…”
Him: “You stop trying to fill yourself and trust, as you seek first my Kingdom I will fulfill you, I will give you a full and abundant life.”
Me: “OK, makes sense, take my eyes off the wrong ‘prize’ and instead focus on the Way, the Truth, and the Life (aka Jesus, see John 14:6).”
Do you have anything you’re caught up in? Not trusting God for? Do you have anything you want more then Jesus? That you are seeking before the Kingdom?
No? I am the only one? Come on be honest, I am not even asking you to share it with the cyber world, just be honest with yourself before God, he already knows anyhow, and being honest, confession is the first step towards the full and abundant life Jesus came to offer you and me! Amen!
So let us “press on toward the goal for the prize of the upward call of God in Christ Jesus” (Philippians 3:14).