I’m Hungry and Thirsty

Jake and Caleb handled their frustrations well these past ten days. They really have.

Jake will tell you – if you asked him – that he’s not happy. Not. Happy. At. All.

His grievance?

Well, if you lived or had spent any time in South Africa in the past ten days, you would know the answer to Jake’s chagrin.

If you have no idea, I won’t leave you guessing.

Recently, South Africans in every region of the nation have been experiencing load shedding. Load shedding or also termed load reduction has been implemented across South Africa to “protect the electricity power system from total blackout.” In other words, for the past ten days, some areas of the country have had their electricity load-shedded or ‘turned-off’ to ensure that other areas of the country enjoy electricity use. The fact of the matter is that there is too much demand for electricity and too little supply – causing the South Africa power system to be imbalanced.

loadshedding-Africa

For our family, for our team, and for our neighborhood, we have experienced load shedding for four to twelve hours at a time each day for the past ten days. Not only that, with the power being switched on and then switched off and then switched on and then switched off again,  electrical faults are occurring throughout the region. Transformers were never designed for such on-off-on-off treatment. The transformers are strained – and so these power faults are indiscriminately occurring everywhere.

Without electricity for four to twelve hours at a time – at unexpected times – this has caused our sons, our neighbors and sometimes, John and me, too, to become weary and frustrated.

When I want to blow dry my hair in the morning before school, I can’t.

When Jake and Caleb need to do their homework using their computers, they are restricted to the amount of battery life each computer holds.

When it’s time to take a shower, cold water is the only option for the majority of us.

Cooking something warm to eat? Not going to happen if the stove and oven are electrical.

Washing clothes is determined by the load shedding schedule as well. Alas, if a fault occurs outside of the planned outage time frame, then our washing is delayed. Indefinitely.

Checking into social media or on-line news sources? Forget it.

Things become even more serious when oxygen machines are impacted. One of our elderly neighbor’s  life and breath are dependent upon the functioning of his oxygen machine. The family has a generator – but the unreliability of electricity during these past ten days has been very problematic for them.

The South African nation is hungry and thirsty for electricity – but there is no clear solution on how to quench and satisfy this longing.

Now, some of you may have noticed that I haven’t written a blog post in a while. The electricity challenge would be a logical factor. However, what has really been going on with me is  something inside.  I have been thinking about, meditating upon, and chewing on one verse in recent weeks – and it centers upon this hunger and thirst idea:

Blessed are those who hunger and thirst for righteousness, for they will be filled.

New International Version, Matthew 5:6

I’ve been asking myself: What does it mean to hunger and thirst for righteousness in this day and age – especially in the unpredictable seasons of life – like load shedding, like illness, like failure, like suffering, or even during the hum-drum-day-to-day happenings, too?

Well, let’s start with some definitions.

Blessed comes from the Greek transliterated word makarois. Makarois describes a blessed, fortunate, and happy person.

What does it mean to hunger? Peinao is the Greek transliterated word for hunger. Peinao means to crave and to seek something with an eager desire.

Thirst is defined as to be painfully in want. To be thirsty is to eagerly long for those things by which the soul is refreshed. Thirst comes from the Greek transliterated word, dipsao, and means that one is literally suffering as a result of their thirst.

What comes to mind is Psalm 42:1:

As the deer pants for streams of water, so my soul pants for you, O God.

My soul thirsts for God, for the living God.

Where can I go to meet God?

Righteousness is demonstrated by a life of integrity and virtue. It is the desire to think, act, and feel in ways that please and honor God. Righteousness comes from the Greek transliterated word, dikaiosune. This is a holy pursuit.

Finally, to be filled, means to reach a place where one’s needs are completely satisfied and fulfilled. Filled is based upon the Greek transliterated word, chortazo.

Putting this all together then:

A blessed person is one who craves and eagerly longs for the soul refreshment of God as they walk the righteous and holy pathways of life – enjoying complete satisfaction and fulfillment in Jesus Christ.

Think about that.

Craving time with the Lord.

Suffering with thirst for His Presence

Walking a holy, God-honoring path

Being filled, satisfied, and content in the friendship of Jesus

Honestly – this is the kind of hunger and thirst that I want in life – this side of heaven.

In a time of life where my adopted homeland and its people (including our family) is craving and longing for electricity to go about our day-to-day routines, I’m wondering what our perspective would be with this energy crisis, if we shifted our longing and desire towards the Lord in a more concerted way?

Would we be so desperate for social media?

Would we use our electronic devices as much?

When the power is cut – again – could we harness this load-sheddning time in a way that serves others in a tangible way?

Would we be satisfied and grateful for what is working and what is good in our life, in our relationships, and in our families – despite the inconveniences, hardships, and uncertainties we experience?

Would we count ourselves as blessed?

If I were completely honest, I hadn’t given the fourth beatitude of Jesus Christ much thought or consideration at any time of my life. I’m not sure why. I know I’ve resonated with other beatitude statements, maybe you have too. There are eight beatitudes of Jesus:

“Blessed are the poor in spirit,
for theirs is the kingdom of heaven.

Blessed are they who mourn,
for they shall be comforted.

Blessed are the meek,
for they shall inherit the earth.

Blessed are they who hunger and thirst for righteousness,
for they shall be satisfied.

Blessed are the merciful,
for they shall obtain mercy.

Blessed are the pure of heart,
for they shall see God.

Blessed are the peacemakers,
for they shall be called children of God.

Blessed are they who are persecuted for the sake of righteousness,
for theirs is the kingdom of heaven.”

New International Version, Matthew 5: 3-10

But now? I can’t stop thinking about what this beatitude and what  hunger and thirst looks like, tastes like, feels like, and is like as I live my life in Christ.

Jesus knows that we thirst. He says:

“But whoever drinks the water I give them will never thirst. Indeed, the water I give them will become in them a spring of water welling up to eternal life.”

New International Version, John 4:4

Jesus knows that we hunger. He declares,

“I am the Bread of Life. Whoever comes to me will never go hungry, and whoever believes in me will never be thirsty.”

New International Version, John 6:38

Jesus knows that we need Him – in all times and in all places and in all relationships. He knows that the more we hunger and thirst for His Presence, the more we will hear His voice, experience His Presence, and discern His will for our lives.  For when we walk with Jesus and remain close to Him, His peace envelopes our hearts and brings both purpose and comfort – regardless of circumstance, situation or even, electricity capacity.

I believe that.

I’m leaning into that.

What are you hungering for and thirsting for in your life?

Is it Jesus?

Or something or someone else?

Jesus says:

Blessed are they who hunger and thirst for righteousness,
for they shall be satisfied. 

Doesn’t that sound divine?

 

Images retrieved from Loadshedding Image Search on Google

2 thoughts on “I’m Hungry and Thirsty

  1. And I was being frustrated by minor things compared to you — I put my frustrations in perspective! Praying for you and your family. I cannot imagine how frustrating and over time it really gets to you! Praying for Jake too!

    1. Thank you, Sondra. I hope the frustrations you are facing are resolved very soon! We appreciate your care and your prayers. With love, heather

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