Today is the sixth post in the series: 11 Bible Verses to Grow Your Faith in 2017.
In each post, I will introduce one name of God and one Bible verse that will grow your view of God, and in turn grow your faith. If you missed the others, you can find them here and here and here and here and here.
Let me begin with three confessions:
#1: I love summertime.
#2: I struggle with summertime blues.
#3: My struggle surprises me every year. (I’m not sure when I’ll stop being surprised.)
Now, to explain: Like my children, every year I count down the days until summer break. I absolutely love having no set schedule. I love the sleeping in, the lazy days, and the kids running wild and free long into the night. Every May I work hard to complete my writing projects so that my schedule and my mind can be free. To me, summer is all about the kids and our family finding our way back to each other again.
And so our summer begins.
All is well until about week three. That’s usually about when the summer blues roll in.
You see … while my kids are having a great ‘ol time running in and out of neighbors’ houses and enjoying time with friends, I’m sitting at home – mostly by myself – with a clear plate and free schedule – going a little out of my mind.
He’s ever-present, you know. He sees us and knows us and is actively working on our behalf – even in the midst of the fog. So when I’m reading a book (Graceful, by Emily P. Freeman) with my favorite teenage girls, and we just happen to be reading week three and the author just happens to mention El Shaddai, you better believe I smiled big and received the reminder right there in the middle of my foggy summer need.
Remember, every time God reveals His name to us, He’s telling us something about His character. God’s names reveal who He is and how He works in our lives. The name El Shaddai in Hebrew is translated as “God Almighty”. This name can be defined as, “the All-Sufficient One or the One who satisfies.”
So when I came across the name El Shaddai in a book that isn’t about the names of God, I felt the sweet, personal reminder that even in this foggy, empty-feeling season, God would be enough for me.
It reminded me that God knew I was struggling, and He knew my need. After all, He made me this way. He made me to know and love Him best through studying and writing. It’s how I was made to worship and how I feel His pleasure most. So when I purposely clear my schedule and remove from it the very things that make me feel most alive, I shouldn’t be so surprised by the effects of my parched soul.
Jesus wasn’t surprised. That’s why He chose to meet with me on page 46 of Graceful.
Yall, this is the wonderful God we serve. The God who sees us running on empty and offers Himself as the One who satisfies. Again and always, He promises to be enough for us.
God has placed in each one of us the need to be satisfied – to be filled deep down in the depths of our soul. We hunger and thirst. And whether we know it or not, our need is spiritual. Only God can fill this deep, cavernous hole that lives inside. So He offers Himself, El Shaddai, as the answer to our growling stomach. He tells us to come to Him when we’re feeling empty – come to Him when we feel that aching need – and He will fill us up.
That’s why I chose this (well, actually these) verses as our memory verse this month.
Because it’s summertime and I don’t have to make any big decisions, I’m going to let you decide which verse you want to memorize. Option #1 is from the New Testament:
Option #2 is from the Old Testament:
#1: MEMORIZE THE VERSE(S).
I have memory verse cards and a cell phone lock screen for you to download. Keep this verse in front of you. Practice it until it’s written on your heart.
#2: STOP SNACKING.
Here’s my problem (and maybe you can relate): I’m a snacker.
Instead of going to the One that satisfies, I run to tasty substitutes – snacks that temporarily fill the void that rages deep inside. Our list of snacks is long: a sweet treat, shopping therapy, staying busy, girl time, social media distraction, exercise, throwing ourselves into more work, etc. None of these things are bad in and of themselves, but when they numb the pain that was intended to lure us to Jesus, they become stumbling blocks. As it is with snacking, slowly our hunger subsides, and we miss an opportunity to experience Jesus.
Everywhere we turn, something or someone is promising to satisfy us – to fill us – but they all fall short. Only Jesus satisfies. Only God Almighty is enough. Everything else is a rotten substitute.
This month, pay attention to your hunger pangs, and take note of when you’re feeling thirsty. And, instead of snacking, in faith, turn to El Shaddai. In Him is everything you need.