In the early years after our adoption, I was alarmed when my children’s deep wounds manifested themselves in some way. I felt both ill-equipped to respond and skittish about what might lie ahead—for them and for me. Their weakness made me acutely aware of my own. I wanted to crawl out of my skin, here. I certainly didn’t feel a staying power as I faced these chasms in myself.
“Do something, anything, God, to change this. To change them,” I’d pray, desperate not to feel so vulnerable. Desperate to stop the pain in them and in me. But God used this desperation to intensify a thirst in my soul. A thirst I didn’t have when my children and our home felt normal, when I didn’t feel so exposed. A thirst that offered an opportunity to reach. To lean in. To stay in that place of internal floundering want.
In a culture that’s full—full of commitments, full of tasks, full of opportunities and people and digital windows into lives that aren’t our own—God calls us to resist succumbing to readily available distractions and instead to press into these thirsty moments, our weakest seasons. Thirst is our ally. We want to be thirsty for God.
This is a beautiful paradox of the spiritual life. Jesus invites us to come to Him and then makes this promise: “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” (John 4:14 NIV). Yet there remains this conundrum: we still feel parched for Him.
Before heaven, before completeness, before the end of lack, we can rest in our thirst, in this longing for God. When our thirst for more of God deepens our awareness of how much we need Him, our capacity for Him grows. We not only see Him as the spring of water, but we develop a continued and ever-growing thirst for that water.
Our thirst is how God allures us. The thirsty don’t just find God, they thrive in God. They drink with deep satisfaction. And this drink makes them thirsty for all that will one day be.
A passage from one of my favorite authors, Sara Hagery, in her book Unseen: The Gift of Being Hidden in a World That Loves to Be Noticed.