Behind the Rice Cakes

I’m doing the church search. Yes…I made the very difficult decision recently to leave my church home. I did so peacefully, with my pastor’s blessing, and for no small reasons – just to qualify. Now I find myself in that terrible un-tethered time of timidly tip-toeing into an unfamiliar church, trying to remain anonymous while hoping to be embraced.  I visited a church a few weeks ago and realized, even as I sat in the pew, that it was not the one I'm looking for. I then had to ask myself exactly what I am looking for. Somehow when I started this journey I just felt (foolishly and childishly) sure that I’ll know it when I find it. Are you familiar with the feeling?

Picture it with me. The lights are dim, the TV is on, the house is quiet and BAM suddenly it hits you – the craving. Your mouth just wants…something. So off to the pantry you go. Rummaging around among boxes and bags, you sample a little of this and a little of that but nothing really hits that spot. Nothing satisfies the craving, and you realize that whatever it is you’re looking for, it isn’t there.

So, I’m thinking about this church search business, and life, and disappointment, and longing, and I’ve discovered something. I’ve discovered that the hope of heaven is really enough. I can nibble my way through this life, finding some good things and making myself full and moderately content, but I will never find anything that fills my heart’s desire. It’s a longing for something this world can’t provide, and were it not for the promise of one day finding that box of double stuffed Oreos hidden behind the rice cakes my days would be crushing in their defeat. I would spend my life in the pantry ever rummaging, never finding, always despairing. (I think this describes an unbeliever. Imagine the torment of thinking, "This is as good as it gets...and I'm still hungry!") 

There will be disappointment in my today. There will be hurt in my tomorrow. I may never find what I don’t even know that I'm looking for in a church. I live in a fallen and imperfect world, so I know that these are truths I can take to the bank. Something else I know is that heaven is so much better than anything I could ask for or even imagine so I can endure this world’s disappointments with that hope, with joy, and with the tantalizing tremor of a desire deferred - deferred, not denied. I don't have to keep rummaging in despair. I know whom I have believed and He will be faithful to guard the longing I have entrusted to Him for that day. In the mean time I will make the best of this day, squeezing the life out of it, seizing every opportunity for fulfillment and satisfaction, knowing that I will end the day discontented and dissatisfied in some ways, because this world is all rice cakes. But I will end the day with the peace of knowing that everything I longed for today is AMEN in Jesus Christ and I will find it in His arms one day. Rice cakes today…double stuffs to come. Oh. Joy.