“And when he had spent everything, a severe famine arose in that country, and he began to be in need…And he was longing to be fed with the pods that the pigs ate, and no one gave him anything. But when he came to himself, he said, ‘How many of my father’s hired servants have more than enough bread, but I perish here with hunger! I will arise and go to my father, and I will say to him, “Father, I have sinned against heaven and before you. I am no longer worthy to be called your son. Treat me as one of your hired servants.”’ And he arose and came to his father. But while he was still a long way off, his father saw him and felt compassion, and ran and embraced him and kissed him.”
“No one gave him anything.” This man was starving. But nourishment was entirely withheld from him. Until he went to the one place he truly needed to go—the place he had chosen to leave with no intention of returning.
How often do we seek satisfaction and nourishment in places other than the God who created and sustains us? We turn from Him to fix our eyes on lesser things. And, in perfect wisdom and grace, He does what He must to bring us back to the source of our everything.
God could provide for us without being so picky about where our attention is focused. He could pour into us nourishment as we pursue other things, and not worry about whether or not we’re really looking to Him for provision. But He knows that our most fervent need is Him. He knows that for us to enjoy a life that is full and joyful, He needs to be at the forefront. Everything else will leave us wanting. Everything except Christ.
“‘The LORD is my portion,’ says my soul, ‘Therefore I will hope in him’” (Lamentations 3:24). The Lord is our portion. And while other portions may satisfy for a moment, that satisfaction will never last. Because we were made to crave the portion that is our God. And nothing else can remotely compare. Returning to Him, we find a stark contrast to the severe famine experienced elsewhere: “But the father said to his servants, ‘Bring quickly the best robe, and put it on him, and put a ring on his hand, and shoes on his feet. And bring the fattened calf and kill it, and let us eat and celebrate’” (Luke 15:22-23).
When we come to our Lord, desperate for Him to fill our emptiness and need, He doesn’t just pour a little into our cup. He doesn’t just give us enough to survive. He fills us with Himself. The Infinite One whose greatness is unsearchable, who is holy and glorious in splendor, the One who fills all in all and upholds the universe by the word of His power, fills us with Himself. To overflowing. So that His glory will spill over into every piece of our lives, touching all those around us.
Paul prayed that the church in Ephesus would “be filled with all the fullness of God” (Ephesians 2:19). I pray this for us this morning. That we would be filled with nothing else and made desperate for our Lord, emptied of everything that doesn’t satisfy, so that we can be filled with all the fullness of God, knowing His love for us, love so great and boundless that it surpasses knowledge.
Our God is enough. And no matter how far off we’ve wandered and how much we don’t have to offer Him in return, He watches for us. So that when we come to ourselves and realize He is what we need, He won’t even wait for us to go the whole way ourselves—He meets us on the path back to Him. He runs to us, embraces us, and immediately pours out abundant grace and mercy.