A person who seeks God will find satisfaction in lifePublished 9:04am Friday, May 10, 2013
By the Rev. Nancy Overgaard
Chaplain at Thorne Crest Retirement Community
When I was a child there was something I did not understand about my mother. Every Sunday, after we had just been to church and Sunday school, she would turn on the radio and listen to another church service as she fixed Sunday dinner. Why, I wondered. Wasn’t once enough? As for myself, I was eager to get out of my Sunday clothes and on with the day.
Nor did it stop there. When the Bethel Bible Series, an in-depth study of the Bible from Genesis to Revelation, was offered at church my mother was there. When Search, another in depth Bible study was offered, my mother enrolled. When Circle or Ladies Aid met, my mother was there. She also diligently studied her Bible lessons at home.
It would be years before I would realize how closely her life aligned with that of the Psalmist, who wrote in Psalm 63:1, “O God, you are my God, earnestly I seek you; my soul thirsts for you…” In that poem, the Psalmist recounts how earnestly he sought God in the formal worship setting as well as at home. It would also be years before I understood how precious in the sight of the Lord that kind of heart after God is. In the Sermon on the Mount, which some have likened to an inaugural address, Jesus declared, “Blessed are those who hunger and thirst for righteousness, for they will be filled,” (Matthew 5:6). There, Jesus taught that yearning for God and earnest desire to live a life pleasing to Him is to characterize all Christians, all citizens of His Kingdom, even as it did the Psalmist, according to the Zondervan NIV Study Bible.
Jesus also taught in that fourth beatitude that those who have such a hunger and thirst for God are blessed; they are to be envied; they are the truly happy. Only, Jesus reversed the normal word order for greater emphasis, using a classic figure of speech to grab our attention. In a favorite text book of mine, “Figures of Speech in the Bible,” E.W. Bullinger points out that “blessed” appears at the beginning of the sentence, considered the most emphatic place, instead of the end, where it “thrusts itself upon our notice, and compels us to give all our attention.” Blessed, in the most emphatic terms, is the person who hungers for God and earnestly desires to live a life that is pleasing to Him.
In another word reversal, Jesus explains why. Just as words can be highlighted by placing them at the beginning of a sentence, so can a word be “held back” or “kept in suspense” for greater emphasis, Bullinger writes. In the surprise conclusion to this beatitude, we learn that it is the person who earnestly seeks God and all that is godly who will find satisfaction in life. For, it is only God who is able to meet our deepest longings in life (Waltke, 1980, p768). It is God who “satisfies the thirsty and fills the hungry with good things,” (Psalm 107:9). Without him, we will never be satisfied.
So, with Mother’s Day in mind, I wish to thank my mother for teaching me how to be truly happy in life. With you, the reader, in mind I pray that you, too, will understand and share that deep longing for God that you might be filled with all the fullness of God (Ephesians 3:19).