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I started thinking about all of the things I'm craving right now while listening to this sermon of our son Matt's -- On Easter Sunday he will finish the final one in a series he's been preaching on the 7 Sayings of Jesus from the Cross. The sermon to which I'm referring is itself only about 20 minutes long, so feel free to skip over the music and get right to it -- but the music is excellent, too. Matt talked about the things Jesus was thirsty for, and it wasn't just a cool drink of water at that point. Jesus' thirsts were intensely emotional, spiritual AND physical.

John 19:28 - "Later, knowing that everything had now been finished, and so that Scripture would be fulfilled, Jesus said, “I am thirsty.”

Have you ever noticed when someone tells you you CANNOT have something, that "something" becomes the thing you start thinking about and wanting the most?

Early in March of this year, flights started being canceled and borders between countries began to close. On March 17, 2020, schools started closing in Alabama, and large group gatherings were discouraged. Everyone was washing their hands more than ever before, coughing/sneezing into their elbows and refraining from touching anyone other than those living in their own homes. The restrictions continued to mount and dozens of businesses were forced to close. Travel OF ALL KINDS grounded to a halt. All the while, we were seeing daily reports on the TV from the Corona Virus Task Force giving ominous information, alarming numbers and dire predictions. What we hoped would be a two-week pause in our lives has now grown to at least six weeks, and we're only halfway to the end of those six weeks. We can barely stand to THINK of the shutdown continuing beyond April 30th.

This is not like one of those rare, but deeply dreaded, ice storms in Alabama, when power (specifically internet, cable and electricity) go out, and the food in our freezers starts to thaw out before we can figure out a way to cook it. That usually only lasts a few days and only affects a small segment of the population.

In the case we're now facing, a whole new vocabulary has sprung up: "shelter in place," "social distancing," "Covid-19," "worldwide pandemic," "stay-at-home orders," "Zoom meetings," "PPEs," etc. etc. I am forced to admit that there a number of items on my daily/weekly/monthly schedule, regular routine and to-do lists that I CRAVE and miss fiercely.

--Hugs from kids and grandkids.

--Teaching piano lessons.

--Corporate worship with my fellow church members.

--Connecting in person with our Life Group.

--Traveling -- short trips, long trips, planning for trips, writing about trips after they happen.

--Reasons to get dressed up.

--Well-stocked stores with normal hours of operation.

--Having people in my home.

--Getting my hair done.

--Lunch dates with friends or enjoying meals in restaurants, period.

--Feeling needed.

--Being motivated to clean.

--Meeting new people.

--Seeing people I've known forever on a regular basis.

--Watching a robust stock market report.

I don't like the fact that I find myself going to the store early in the morning (i.e. "shopping with the old people") to try to avoid as many germs as possible and to find items on the shelves that I need. After all, in my mind I'm still pushing two carts through the store -- one filled with my 3 children each holding a box of animal cookies and the other with the groceries. Oh for the good ol' days!

I don't like the fact that people who are in the stores with me are avoiding eye contact, as if that would also be a way to combat the virus. I'M AN EYE CONTACT PERSON!!

But, I'm convicted as I look back over the last few paragraphs. Too many "I's" and "my's." Not nearly enough concern for others, the people in Italy, for instance, or in our adopted country of Ecuador. Ecuador is in a dire situation right now. People with whom we lived for four years are in desperate times. Read a story about it here -- ss Ctrl-c to copy I absolutely MUST stop whining. I have no real reasons to complain. Things WILL get better, and when they do, hospitals will be better equipped, more treatment methods will have been found and a vaccine will be on its way. Businesses will reopen. We'll be back inside church buildings with our fellow believers. We'll hug our loved ones, have our parties, go on our trips.

One BIG plus I've discovered in recent days? I enjoy walking laps up and down our driveway and find that it is a perfect time to pray for each member of my family one by one, for my neighbors and for all of those God puts on my heart. The numbers climb on my step-counter, and I become more settled and peaceful. Win-win.

It's springtime. The grass and trees are vibrant shades of green, and flowers are blooming. The birds are singing their little hearts out. And, most of all, this coming Sunday is EASTER, the reason I believe that Jesus is God's Son, my Savior, and Lord!

Join with me. Let's turn our cravings in a Godward direction.

Psalm 42:1 -- "As the deer pants for (craves, thirsts for) streams of water, so my soul pants for (craves, thirsts for) you, my God."

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