Monday, February 13, 2012

His soul shall never hunger nor thirst, but shall be filled

And he [Jesus] said unto them: He that eateth this bread eateth of my body to his soul; and he that drinketh of this wine drinketh of my blood to his soul; and his soul shall never hunger nor thirst, but shall be filled. (3 Nephi 20:8)

I was reading reading randomly through the scriptures and I noticed this particular verse. The context is Jesus administering the sacrament to the Nephites. Somehow I noticed what a difference it makes between if Jesus had said “eatheth of my body to his body” and what He did say, which was “eateth of my body to his soul.” Jesus said this eating bread and wine of the sacrament was to our souls, not our bodies. It is amazing that the sacrament can benefit our spirits with this little act of eating, which normally would only benefit our bodies.

It’s an amazing promise that goes with it. To those of us who eat the bread and wine to our souls, we are promised our souls “shall never hunger nor thirst, but shall be filled.” What might that mean to us to never have a hungry, thirsty soul? What might it mean to always be filled? How would that bless our lives? What might it feel like?

I know my soul is filled when I take the sacrament. I can feel it. (I think I began to really notice it in my late teens.) I’m sure you have felt it too. For me, it is as if all the holes in my soul are filled in and smoothed over, the cracks joined and glued together. I can feel my desires to do good are renewed and strengthened.

I can keep it a few days, but usually by Saturday I feel like I am struggling a bit. After looking at that verse, though, it seems to me like there has to be something I can do to keep that “filled” feeling in my soul. Perhaps I need to remember Jesus more. I am both haunted and inspired by that promise that my soul “shall never hunger nor thirst, but shall be filled.”

What might it mean to us in the middle of our trials and troubles and afflictions if our soul never hungers or thirsts but is filled? How might a “filled” soul handle inevitable difficulties? How might a “filled” soul deal with heavy responsibility? Is a “filled” soul resilient? Serene? Hopeful? (Obviously I need to really internalize these promises..)

I was asking myself these questions, and interestingly enough a little later, I ran across a scripture that showed me the opposite of “filled.”

It shall even be as when an hungry man dreameth, and, behold, he eateth;

but he awaketh, and his soul is empty:

or as when a thirsty man dreameth, and, behold, he drinketh;

but he awaketh, and, behold, he is faint, and his soul hath appetite:

so shall the multitude of all the nations be, that fight against mount Zion. (Isaiah 29:8)

So it seems that being filled is meant to help us escape the terrible predicament that Isaiah described of having a hungry, dissatisfied soul. It seems to be a benefit of knowing you are on the right track and walking in the true way we’re supposed to go.

If you’ve had experience with fulfillment of this promise, will you share what it is you do to do your part?


Becca said...

"For me, it is as if all the holes in my soul are filled in and smoothed over, the cracks joined and glued together."

I like that visual. I think you described the feeling very well.

I recently noticed the same concept when the Savior gave the sacrament to the Nephites and they were "filed" and I thought about how my kids tell me they are hungry or thirsty and want the bread and water, and I try to teach them that the bread and water aren't going to fill them up physically but rather spiritually (they are 3 and 5, so I guess it's okay that they think that, but I hope that I can help them understand the "filling of the soul" that comes from taking the sacrament).

Michaela Stephens said...

I wrote this post a week ago and last week I did an experiment where I tried to stop and think every so often and ponder whether I will still worthy to be "filled." I would think a little bit about what Jesus did for me and I would pray to still be "filled."

I have to report that I did it a number of times when I was having a difficult time keeping a positive attitude and I noticed that after doing that, somehow my perception of the world would change. I would start looking around me and I would suddenly see the beauty of nature, or realize a blessing I had, and soon I was just rejoicing at how good life was.

There was one point when I was struggling with some persistent pain and after asking to be filled again, it was amazing how happy I felt, even though the pain had not gone away.

If this is what being filled can do for us, we are missing out on a big part of our spiritual blessings if we don't obtain this.