For both health and spiritual reasons, I’ve decided to abstain from certain foods for the next few weeks. Mainly, those foods are everything I love and the denial of them is proving very difficult. While I am eating things that are much better for me, the whole grain pasta I had last night simply doesn’t satisfy. Neither does the salad with oil and vinegar dressing nor the wheat tortilla PBJ with natural peanut butter. I eat three meals a day, but I am not satisfied. And it got me thinking how many things we pursue in life that simply do not satisfy us. We chase an astonishing array of pleasures, from food to alcohol to spending, and none of it leaves us full. Quite honestly, it’s why we have addictions and debt. It’s why so many of us are heartbroken and hungry for more. What we spend so much time pursuing just doesn’t deliver. And the truth is, it was never meant to. I believe that we were created with a need, a hunger, for far more than this world can provide. There is something within the deepest part of our hearts that knows the trappings of this earthly realm will never be enough.
Psalm 145:16 says, “You open your hand; you satisfy the desire of every living thing.” As usual, I was curious what promises might lie hidden behind that verse, so I got to work. And while the verse is fairly straight forward, there was one small word that turned out to be more significant than I initially thought. The word “open” is the Hebrew word pathach and the literal translation is “open wide.” Open wide. I don’t know about you, but that feels a little different than just “open.” When I think of opening something wide, I think of my front door and I think of the fact that I don’t open it wide very often. Most of the time, I am reserved regarding just how far I’ll open it and for whom. I may not want to let everything or everyone in. I may want to hold some things back. But when God extends His hand to us, it is open wide. He holds nothing back. He does not wait for us to have our house in order or our ducks in a row. He bestows all of His blessing and grace without condition or reservation. All He has to offer is ours for the taking.
But we must take it. God will certainly not force it upon us. It is our choice, every day, to reject the shiny, glimmering enticements of this world and choose what will truly satisfy. I admit, the choice is often extremely difficult. You see, generally God’s offerings don’t shimmer and shine the way the enticements of the world do. But truth be told, when is the last time this world’s charms and temptations provided lasting satisfaction? When is the last time a purchase or indulgence satisfied you for any real length of time? I can say, with all honesty, that any pleasure, sustenance or fulfillment I have derived from the allures of this earthly domain are fleeting and temporary. Furthermore, I am all too quickly hungry for more.
Thankfully, this is not the case with God. As David so pointedly writes, God “satisfies the desire of every living thing.” He meets our needs completely. He offers peace, joy, grace and mercy that extend far beyond immediate gratification. If we approach God’s wide open hand with wide open hearts, the blessings will come fast and furious and, most importantly, they will remain. And they will satisfy.