Three rules for girl’s weekend at the lake: No makeup, no dieting, and no doing anything productive. It’s heavenly. Every winter my friend Lisa and I look forward to an annual trip to the lake where we relax by a fire, enjoy great meals prepared and frozen weeks in advance, watch movies, and devour a suspense novel. The meals, movies, and books vary, but the one absolute is the cozy ambiance of a crackling fire. It just sets the mood for our well-deserved weekend of laziness.
We unloaded the car, stocked the fridge, and changed into old sweat pants, over-sized tee shirts, and warm fuzzy socks. Eager to warm the cold house and get our lazy weekend started, panic set in when we discovered the firewood box empty. Forfeiting the fire all weekend was simply not an option. A quick google search revealed only one firewood supplier. Good enough. One was all we needed. We dialed the number.
“Sure, we got firewood,” replied the supplier with a slow southern drawl. “I reckon y’all can meet us up thur in the parkin’ lot of that Mexican restaurant and we’ll bring a truck bed of wood fur ya. We’ll be awaitin’ in a red pickup truck. Jes pull up side us.”
We threw a sheet in the back of my old SUV and headed for the meeting spot. As we parked beside the red pickup truck, Lisa rolled down her window.
“You gurls sure are purty,” grinned the almost toothless man behind the wheel. His buddy, also grinning, sat shotgun. An uneasiness swept over me when I spotted the empty truck bed. “Where’s the wood?” I asked. “Oh, we didn’t wanna have ta load it twice, so it’s at the house, jes couple miles up that thur dirt road,” he pointed.
I know, but we really wanted firewood.
As Lisa and I followed the red truck down the winding dirt road further into the woods, neither of us spoke. We didn’t have to. We knew exactly what the other was thinking. Silently weighing the options of turning around with no firewood or risking who knows what, neither was willing to make the decision of whether to continue following. We really wanted firewood.
My hands gripped the steering wheel tighter as we stared straight ahead, both stiff with fear, and continued following the toothless men through the woods. When it seemed we had traveled more than two miles, Lisa abruptly broke the silence, “I’m not wearing a bra.” We drove another several minutes before I replied, “I’m not either.”
Now, I realize panicked people do odd things, but I can’t for the life of me figure out Lisa’s next move. She grabbed the tissue box from my glove compartment and yanked all the tissues out. Then she removed the wallets from our purses, took out the money, stuffed the bills into the tissue box, shoved the box back into the glove compartment, and quickly explained, “In case they’re bad people.”
Because that makes sense.
“So, let me get this straight,” I reasoned. “If they are bad people and we wind up raped, beaten, and left for dead in a ditch, at least they won’t have our money. What is wrong with you?”
“What’s wrong with me?” Lisa fired back. “You’re the one following inbred looking men who think we’re ‘purty’ down a dirt road miles from civilization!” She actually put air quotes around the word ‘purty.’ Who does air quotes at a time like that?
“Well, you didn’t say we shouldn’t!” I retorted.
“Well, neither did you!” she snapped back. We really wanted firewood.
Another few minutes ticked by before a rundown cabin came into view. The small porch was littered with everything from crushed beer cans to large kitchen appliances. “Lu, what do you think the chances are that we’re going to wind up in their freezer?” I asked as we rolled to a stop. “I don’t know,” Lisa answered. “I think it could go either way.”
Toothless approached my side of the car. I rolled down the window with shoulders hunched in hopes of not drawing attention to my braless chest. He popped the cap off a bottle of beer, tossed it on the ground, lifted his grungy baseball cap just enough to scratch his oily head with his thumb, and slurred, “We ain’t never put no firewood in no Lexus before.”
I popped the hatch and we held our breath, not knowing what would come next. Thankfully, but with no credit to our good sense, relief washed over us and heart rates returned to normal as it became apparent that their only motive was to load firewood. Once they finished, toothless approached my side of the car again and said, “That’ll be forty-dollars little ladies. Will y’all be alright finding yur way back out?” Lisa plucked money from the tissue box causing toothless’s head to itch again while I smiled sweetly and said, “I think we’ll manage.”
Have you ever wanted something so badly you were willing to pursue it at all costs? There is only one thing a Christian was created to pursue in such a way—God. We were created by God, for God, and nothing we pursue will bring real, deep down satisfaction other than God.
The more we search for him like hidden treasure, the more we treasure his presence, which is the ultimate source of satisfaction and fulfilment. It is through his presence that all our needs and deepest longings for joy are met. “You make known to me the path of life; you will fill me with joy in your presence” (Psalm 16:11).
Because food and water are the essential needs on which we physically live and thrive, Jesus correlates those same essential needs with healthy spiritual living, and he promises to satisfy those needs when we seek him. Jesus declared, “I am the bread of life. Whoever comes to me will never go hungry, and whoever believes in me will never be thirsty” (John 6:35).
We are made to crave. When we pursue a taste for God’s Word, that truth which is an extension of himself, he fills us to the brim with his goodness. Once we taste and see that the Lord is good (Psalm 34:8), we realize all the winding roads of life we’ve gone down—seeking what we thought we wanted—led to nowhere. It was really him we were searching for all along.