“I don’t want the sandwich! I don’t need it! I hate it!”
We laugh about it now, but it was serious business to him. Of all the Garmon kids, my brother Rowan is easily the “hangriest” — that is, he gets the most upset when he’s hungry. Of course it was much more severe as a child, but we still pick on him for it.
My mom could always see it coming a mile away. Rowan was a stubborn kid (his greatest strength and weakness) and sometimes he insisted food was not the remedy. “I’m not hungry!” he’d shout. Sometimes my mom just had to let him figure it out and give him a little space. And a sandwich.
Desires. I’ve noticed that sometimes Christians aren’t sure what to do with them. We hear big ideas about surrender and dying to self and crucifying the flesh and I wonder if we forget where desires come from (it’s God).
See, humans desire food and sex and adventure and intimacy and beauty and peace and community and order.... the list goes. All of those are good desires. Built right into us by the Creator Himself. We just need to operate according to the manual.
I sort of imagine a little three-year-old doing a dot-to-dot. She sees the dots, has an idea they are to be connected, and starts drawing lines. Only this little gal, connects the 10 to the 14 to the 27 to the 8 and then gets upset and cries because the picture doesn’t turn out right.
But we do it too. We have some idea that we ought to fulfill desires our somehow. We connect them to things that seem alright in the moment, but don’t actually give the result we want. And then we yell at God when the picture sucks.
And all along He’s there ready to show us how to make something beautiful.
So, two quick thoughts.
First, God made everything and knows how to best manage and fulfill desires. I know that’s a simple thought, but it’s true. He’s not trying figure out how to wreck your life, while keeping you two steps away from having your desires truly satiated. He knows the rhythm of want and satisfaction and knows how to best respect it. In short, he wants to fulfill your desires, and knows how to do it.
Too, there are some desires that aren’t fully satisfied during this life we know. It’s sort of a bummer, but it’s cool because it reminds that there will be a time when everything is set right — including our desires — and we’ll fully understand what our desires have been trying to tell us. I hope this isn’t too crude, but it makes me think of this picture of Marilyn Monroe.
See, what’s most interesting about this image is what’s being covered up. We’re left wanting. We have a sense that what’s hidden is amazing, but we can’t view it. I submit that our unfulfilled desires on earth are like that. They point to the best parts that we can’t see. The parts of Heaven, of God revealed that are most spectacular.
In the end what I’m saying is a bit paradoxical. I’m saying that Jesus has answers to all of your desires. Some of them will make sense in this life and be satisfied. But at best we’re still going to feel burning unfilled desires at times. And those desires are most beautiful because they point to something greater.
Back to the sandwich, if nothing else just remember that when you’re mad about your desires going unfulfilled, God may just be waiting behind you with a sandwich.