For whatever reason, my precious six month old would cry out in anguish for food, clearly hungry and needing nourishment, but actively refusing to eat when I offered it to her. Her beautiful little lips would clamp shut as silent tears rolled down her face, and my heart was broken. I loved my child and only wanted good for her, but I couldn’t give her what she needed to thrive if she actively refused it.
It was unclear why the refusal was taking place. It could have been that something about eating was causing her physical discomfort. Or maybe she was too distracted by the busy world around her to focus on the bore of eating. Maybe it was a control issue. She didn’t like that she couldn’t feed herself. Even though it felt like a knife to the chest to think about, it could even be that she simply didn’t trust me.
When she was hungry, she frantically grabbed whatever was around her and shoved it into her mouth, gnawing and gnawing until she threw it down in discontent. My heart broke into pieces watching her. I just wanted her to feel loved and to feel safe and to trust me and thrive.
On a particularly haggard day, I found myself behind the wheel of my car, clutching my coffee and crying out to God for strength, comfort, and answers.
In that moment, God revealed my sin to me.
He revealed to me that I was no different than my baby. For weeks I had been crying out for all those good things from God that make up spiritual nourishment. For peace. For comfort. For encouragement. For hope. For weeks I had been feeling unanswered and empty, fervently hungry. But God made something clear to me in that moment that I had known all along but had been choosing to ignore.
He had already been giving me what I needed. In a very practical sense He had been meeting my needs from the beginning, and in a spiritual sense He had already offered me the nourishment that I was so desperately seeking in His word.
1 Peter 2:2 says, “Like newborn babies, crave pure spiritual milk, so that by it you may grow up in your salvation.” Then in Isaiah 55:2,”Why do you spend money for what is not bread, And your wages for what does not satisfy? Listen carefully to Me, and eat what is good, And delight yourself in abundance.” In these verses, and in other places in Scripture, Christ and His word are referred to as the spiritual nourishment that we seek.
Our Father had already provided the spiritual nourishment I needed through Christ and His word. But instead of readily accepting the pure spiritual milk that was being offered to me, I actively refused it, practically arching my back like my child does as I let the black cover of my Bible remain shut in its place on the piano.
How often do we do this, church? We pray to be fed but instead of reading God’s word and dwelling in Christ, we metaphorically turn our heads and gnaw on our fists and our toys instead, frantically and foolishly trying to soothe ourselves. Our reasons for refusal are not much different than my daughter’s. We aren’t fans of the discomfort that we receive from the conviction and suffering that we are promised in Christ. The world is bright and flashy and too distracting for us to be bothered with praying or meditating on the word. We sinfully want to feed ourselves comfort and self-seeking truths rather than choosing to trust the Lord.
We, no different than an infant who refuses her milk, refuse the very source of life that our Father offers us.
With an understanding of this truth and my own sin, I found myself seeing the heart of God a little more clearly that I had before. When my child turns away from me when I’m trying to offer her life, I feel only a fraction of the pain that our Father in heaven feels when His children turn away from Him when He offers them His life. He has already given us what we need, we just need to accept it.
“I am the living bread that came down out of heaven; if anyone eats of this bread, he will live forever; and the bread also which I will give for the life of the world is My flesh.” John 6:51