By: Allie Joy Hudson
3 min. read
My favorite poem is an obscure little work by C.S. Lewis, called “The Naked Seed.” Every time I go back and reread it, it’s opening lines grab my attention right away: “My heart is empty. All the fountains that should run / With longing, are in me / Dried up.”
To me, this poem feels like one of David’s psalms, opening with an honest, vulnerable cry out to the Lord. Many times, David begins his Psalms with a cry of his perceived distance from God, of loneliness, of struggle.
The speaker of “The Naked Seed” readily admits that he doesn’t long for God as he knows he should. Rather than his soul thirsting for the Lord “as the deer pants for streams of water” (Psalm 42:1), the longing in him is almost non-existent, dried up.
One of the reasons that I gravitate towards this poem is because I see myself as its speaker sometimes. I know that I need the Lord, that I need to long for His presence, seek Him, be close to Him, listen to Him, and obey Him. But, like the speaker of “The Naked Seed” admits, quite honestly, it’s tough. Many days I don’t delight myself in Jesus like He commands me to. Though I know that Jesus knows what is best for me, which is being close to Him, many times I push Him aside or seek other things before Him.
I think that’s where the struggle often lies for me – in placing others before God. Sometimes these things are good and other times they’re even harmful. What the things I seek before God have in common, though, is that I see them as being more immediate. Even though I am indwelled, literally filled, with the Holy Spirit, I often think that the people, possessions, tasks, and sin around me are more urgent and demand my time in the very moment instead of spending time with the Lord.
What sort of things do I tend to go to before God? It’s a long list: my husband, trying to please other people, my family and friends, busyness, worrying, work, social media, trying to work for God’s affection, snacking, my phone, my appearance, sex, my to-do list, etc., etc.
As I said before, some of what I listed is good, some isn’t. But compared to seeking God first, all of these things, even the good, are lesser, empty. Jesus says in Matthew 10:37, “‘Anyone who loves their father or mother more than Me is not worthy of Me; anyone who loves their son or daughter more than Me is not worthy of Me.’” We need to have our priorities straight. Lust or human love will crumble when we try to make them the foundations for our lives. In the words of C.S. Lewis on human affection, “Love, having become a god, becomes a demon” (The Four Loves).
What does your thought life look life? Your prayer time? What are you placing before your eyes? What things, whether sinful or well-intentioned, do you run to before going to God? Start by praying about and realizing idols in your life. Recognizing that you’re placing idols before God is an important step in dismantling their hold on you.
Be challenged to examine your own life, but also be encouraged that our Jesus is so gracious with us. He longs for us to spend time with Him, talk to Him, and linger in His presence. He loves us deeply; we are His Bride for eternity. He is gracious and patient, always calling us back to Himself.
And because of His Spirit in us, we can now desire Him. Before acknowledging Him as Savior, there was nothing in us that desired Him (Romans 3). But now we can! And when we do, God breathes His life into every area of our lives. “The Naked Seed” ends with a reflection on this very hope:
If thou think for me what I cannot think, if thou
Desire for me what I
Cannot desire, my soul’s interior Form, though now
Deep-buried, will not die,
–No more than the insensible dropp’d seed which grows
Through winter ripe for birth
Because, while it forgets, the heaven remembering throws
Sweet influence still on earth,
–Because the heaven, moved moth-like by thy beauty, goes
Still turning round the earth.
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Allie Joy Hudson is first and foremost a daughter of the King. She has worked with Proven for three years and serves as the Content Manager. Allie graduated from Liberty University with a B.A. in English and minors in Spanish and Psychology. She completed her Senior Honors Thesis on the presentation of postmodern sexuality in short fiction. She enjoys reading, writing, playing the viola, running, singing, and photography. Allie is passionate about her ever-growing C.S. Lewis collection, cultivating relationships, and proclaiming truth in the twisted arena of postmodern sexuality. Allie lives in Pennsylvania and is overjoyed to be married to the love of her life.