This was given as a sermon to Endicott UMC, Fairbury UMC, and Daykin UMC on March 24th, 2019:
Our psalm today, psalm 63 said,
“You, God, are my God, earnestly I seek you; I thirst for you, my whole being longs for you, in a dry and parched land where there is no water.”
Do I really thirst for God? Do I really find satisfaction in God like I do a large cool cup of water?
And our passage in Isaiah today, Isaiah 55 said,
“Come, all you who are thirsty, come to the waters; and you who have no money, come, buy and eat!
How can we buy bread and drink when we have no money?
I think what God is telling us is that what he offers is free. And what he offers satisfies like water, or food.
So often it doesn’t feel like that is true.
+I pray, and I don’t feel like I get an answer.
+I try to read the Bible and often I get what I want out of it.
So many other things seem more satisfying in this world.
· I eat food and I get full. I ate had a double burger on Friday night a Criner’s in Endicott, and I only ate one quarter of it before I was full and had to take the rest home. That satisfied… for a time.
· I spend time with fun people, and I am entertained.
· I indulge in other immediate pleasures, like watching YouTube, or scrolling Instagram and for a short time I am satisfied.
So what does it look like to be satisfied by God in this world of errands and emails and playing cards and watching sports?
Church told me it’s all about relationship with God, but I’ve been disappointed. It’s not like any worldly relationship I’ve ever had before.
· I can’t get a text from God like I can my friends.
· I can’t see him like my friends when I sit across from them at coffee.
· I can’t call him and hear his voice like when I call my dad.
· I can’t hold him like I hold my girlfriend.
So I wonder, is this really any relationship at all?
It is when I get discouraged about this that I try to picture this metaphor. I picture God and I are on a ship and he is my a quiet captain at the helm. He is sailing us into the sea of my life and he’s just happy we’re together on this journey. I talk his ear off, about what I want and what I think I need. I ask a lot of stuff but he rarely directly answers. He mostly does a lot of silent nodding, just listening, but he wants to hear my thoughts and is always quietly steering my ship.
Sometimes I can tell he wants me to fix my sails or waterproof the deck, stuff that I don’t want to do. But if I do it our ship works a lot better. Sometimes scary storms or pirates show up on the horizon and I freak out and tell him I just want to go to a happy place. I can just keep putting up the sails or running up flags of peace, and other stuff when I know he wants me to. I just do what I can get up each day and trust him to sail my ship. And I go to sleep at night trusting him at my helm. And when I wake up I realize that he has sailed us to safe waters again. Even if it wasn’t where I thought I wanted to go I realize he heard me, and was watching out for me and has led me somewhere I know is good.
If I can trust he hears me and wants my best and steers my ship accordingly, it helps me feel a little more like it is a satisfying relationship, and I can keep on talking to him.
But sometimes I think he does respond to me. But He’ll use other things in the world to communicate with me.
· Sometimes He will bring good people into my life and their words can be His words to me. Their hugs can be like His arms around me.
· And sometimes it’s the storms he brings me through that teach me in a deeper way than words from a worldly mentor could be.
· Sometimes when I have a big life decision, He speaks in the form of doors to my future that seem to open.
· And sometimes he speaks through what I learned His heart to be in Sunday school. Because of that I often know what his answer would be to my questions.
· It’s been words from an Adele song before, When she tells me, “Hello, it's me. I was wondering if after all these years you'd like to meet” That breaks my heart and brings me back to prayer again.
· Sometimes it is words from the Bible. I tell God what I’m worried about and I’ll open to a scripture that seems to address that exactly.
But if I’m lucky, if I am paying attention when He speaks, I can hear his voice as actual words in my mind. People have told before that they hear God’s voice directly only a few times in their life. Like a voice that says something straight into our heart. And it is sometimes like, “Stop that.” Or “Go help that person.” But more often, for me and from what I hear from others, it is usually things like, “I love you so much.” and “You are my son.” Or “You are my daughter.” and “I am so in love with you.”
And it’s when I realize that God is next to me steering my ship and talking with me throughout my day through circumstances, other people, the Bible, and every now and then his actual words, that I feel really deeply satisfied. Even so satisfied that the next day I thirst for more of Him again.