When we first moved here, I made a huge mistake.
As we were packing to move overseas, our luggage space was limited. We had to prioritize. I made the decision that we didn't need to bring Christmas decorations. It really didn't seem like a big deal at the time. We have never been overly sentimental. One year we barely did any decorating and we didn't seem to mind. One year we didn't even put up a Christmas tree, and the kids never said a word. So it seemed like a good thing to leave the Christmas decorations in the States. When we arrived in our new country in November, we made a mad dash to get the new house set up. Before we knew it, December was at our doorstep. That's when my mistake glared as bright as tacky Christmas lights. It was Christmas time, and yet nothing looked like Christmas. The people here don't celebrate Christmas so every store looked bare. Every house looked plain. Everything looked like it does every other day of the year. Christmas decor was nowhere to be found and we suddenly felt homesick.
Sometimes you don't realize how much you love something until it isn't there. It sounds silly, but we once endured a cheddar cheese shortage here. It went on for 7 months. People just don't realize how addicted to cheddar cheese Americans are. I am surprised our blood isn't cheddar cheese yellow. Yes, I whined a little. Don't even let me begin telling you about the dill pickle shortage that has been going on for two years. Those things aren't even necessary, just precious to my American taste buds.
My daughter and I love to go running. We have worked up to a 10k. Our next goal is to run a half marathon. Yes, that means she and I are only half crazy. One time we were out running a 10k. It was a hot day, and I had forgotten to bring money with me to grab a bottled water for when we finished our run. At the end of the run, we were panting and parched. The walk home was as excruciating as the 10k run. We sent a text to my husband asking him to meet us at the gate with water. I don't think I have ever been so thirsty! It was foolish and dangerous for us to make such a trip without sufficient means of hydration.
Next door to our home, the neighbors keep a milk cow. They often keep it on a short five foot rope that runs through its nose and ties it to a stake in the small plot of land. Sometimes they even keep it locked up in a metal shed in the heat of the summer. The poor cow must be roasting in that shed! We always know when it becomes unbearable for the cow. It begins to cry loudly for water. It will continue begging and braying for hours until someone satisfies its thirst.
Psalm 42:1 "As the hart panteth after the water brooks, so panteth my soul after thee, O God. My soul thirsteth for God, for the living God: when shall I come and appear before God?"
Imagine a deer on the run in the heat of the summer. It longs for the safety and the refreshing of the water brooks. As it is being pursued, thirst begins to build. Its mouth becomes dry. Muscles tired and aching, heart pounding, it finally cries out for water.
Do we long for God like that? When it seems He is hiding behind the lattice and we cannot find Him, do we cry out for Him? Do we long for His safety, comfort, and refreshing? He isn't like a cheddar cheese shortage or a pickle shortage. We can survive without those. They are nice to have and we love them, but they can be replaced with other things. He is more than just Christmas decorations that we enjoy and miss when they are gone. He is like water. He is vital to life. He is vital to day-to-day survival. I can live without cheddar for at least 7 months and pickles for 2 years and counting. I would miss them, but I can even live without the homey feel of Christmas decor. But without water, I am doomed. He is necessary for every day and every minute.
Is He precious to me like my Christmas decorations? Do I miss Him when I realize our fellowship is broken because of sin? When He is silent, do I long to hear His voice?
Do I have an appetite for Him like my beautiful, golden cheddar cheese treasure? Do I hunger for the taste of His goodness and for the buffet of His righteousness and holy character and nature?
And do I realize how vital He is? Do I realize how much I need Him every moment? Do I call out for Him? Do I cry for Him?