What were we intended for? How did God intend us to thrive? To be nourished?
Let's look at an example that's dear to my heart: grass and cows. I've mentioned on the blog that we drink raw milk from cows raised on grass, and that the past couple of years, we've purchased a fair amount of grass-finished beef from a local rancher. Here are a few of the reasons why we seek out such a resource:
When animals are 100% grass-fed, their meat is not only lower in saturated fats but also slightly higher in omega-3 fatty acids, the healthy fats found in salmon and flaxseed, which studies indicate may help prevent heart disease and bolster the immune system. Ground beef and milk from grass-finished cattle also have more conjugated linoleic acid (CLA), which recent data suggest may help prevent breast cancer, diabetes and other ailments. Moreover, grass-finished meat is higher than grain-finished meat in vitamin A and vitamin E, two antioxidants thought to boost resistance to disease.In fact, eating grass is far better for the animals, too. In their book Nourishing Traditions, Sally Fallon and Dr. Mary Enig write that commercially-raised cattle are "treated with antibiotics to stave off infections that inevitably result from poor diet and crowded conditions." (emphasis mine) According Union of Concerned Scientists, "a change from grain-based feedlots back to a purely pasture-based system "would be better for the environment, animals and humans." (source) Cows were intended to eat grass.*
Enough about the cows. What about people? What is intended to nourish our spirits? St. Augustine is credited with saying “God, you have made us for yourself, and our hearts are restless till they find their rest in you.” I believe this to be true. We seek endlessly to fill a deep longing, and when we try to fill it with anything other than God, we will never be satisfied.
A dear friend recently made a connection I'd never considered before. It comes from Revelation 3:20 - a well-known Scripture. Here are the words of Jesus: "Here I am! I stand at the door and knock. If anyone hears my voice and opens the door, I will come in and eat with him, and he with me." This verse is often quoted as a gesture of Christ's invitation to the unbeliever, yet in context these words are said to his followers (in the church in Laodicea).
And here's the thing - what if Jesus isn't talking about sharing a meal here? What if He is extending an invitation to find our true nourishment in Him? To partake of living water (John 7:38) , the Bread of Life (John 6:35). What if we stopped running after other things, and answered the call for a deeper relationship?
The Bible tells us that God "set eternity in the hearts of men" (Ecclesiastes 3:11). He made us to want Him, to need Him. That's what we were created for.
I forget that sometimes. I get busy, I get distracted. I try to fill that God-shaped hole with things like family, food, TV, the Internet. Sometimes I even invent things to keep me more busy than usual, because I don't take the time to stop and realize that for which my spirit is really hungering.
Maybe we're meant to be "grazing" on Him. Continually coming to Him to fill us up. Because it's the only way to find what we need to be healthy, effective, and strong. Only in Him will we thrive. We were made for this, meant for this.
And because of that, nothing else will truly satisfy.
*If you'd like to learn more about grass-fed cows, check out Eat Wild.