Waiting not wanting

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Over a meal with friends last week a few of us admitted that we didn’t really ‘want’ anything this Christmas. We all seemed aware that we have so much ‘stuff’ already and don’t really need anything new.

The next day I sat with my bible and found myself reading Psalm 23 - ‘The Lord is my Shepherd, I shall not be in want’. For quite a while I couldn’t get past that verse, the depth of its meaning and its relevance at this time of year. Initially I was struck by the phrase ‘I shall not be in want’ and what it means to be in a state where nothing is wanted. I was challenged that, whilst I don’t want anything for Christmas, that doesn’t mean I am never ‘in want’. It’s so easy to replace material wants with desire for meaning, success, relationships, stability or thrill.

The Lord is my Shepherd, I shall not be in want
— Psalm 23 v 1

This psalm reminds us that the replacing of these other ‘wants’ comes in the form of a relationship with God, the Shepherd. Over the years I have come to see how my own ‘wants’ have often arisen from the bits of me that I hadn’t fully given to God. For instance, when I began to give more sacrificially to God, my desire to spend money on things I didn’t need lessened. Beyond that I see that the love of God, poured out into our hearts by the Holy Spirit, reduces our wants. In other words, I find that the more time I spend with Him in prayer, waiting for Him to draw near, to fill me from within, the less I want and not just for presents at Christmas. 

 

Advent is a time when Christians have carried an attitude of waiting in prayer. That doesn’t mean waiting for it to finish or for an excuse to be interrupted but turning ourselves in expectant hope to the truth that one day, Christ will come again. ‘Your kingdom come, your will be done, on earth as it is in heaven’.

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As we wait for Him in prayer, we discover our desperate need for more of Him in our lives now. And we see the need of the world around us for Him. Which leaves us not wanting, but knowing the Lord as our Shepherd and waiting for Him.