I love being hungry. Not physically of course (I don’t like THAT at all). I mean I love being spiritually hungry.
I think faith has its seasons, or at lease mine seems to. There are times of hunger, times of growth, times of celebration and even times of quiet. They each have their place, their time, their value. They each work at their own time and tempo and provide healing and refinement, burden and joy.
But I love the hungry season the most, when my heart is like a sponge and I can’t soak up enough of the wonder around me. I think God made us hungry and loves us hungry. I think God’s favorite season just might be Hungry. Hungry is good; hungry leads to healing. When we are hungry, we are seeking to be filled. And there is no prayer God loves to answer more than “Fill me, Father.”
There’s some danger in hungry too. The devil knows about hungry and he loves to offer us all the cheap substitutes to keep us from being filled by God or the things of God. Crack open your Bible and look at all the people tempted in times of hunger: the Isrealites in the wilderness, Eve in the garden, even Jesus after being baptized. There’s a lot of choice in the hungry season. Hungry leaves the door open for temptation. But is also leaves the door open for obedience.
Hunger is a natural thing. God created us in a way that our bodies need food, sustenance. He also created us to be spiritually hungry. He made us to need love and relationship. And then in all His goodness, He provided us with a world of food and relationship sources to help us feel satisfied… for awhile. But there is also a part of us that will never feel full until we have filled up on God. And in keeping with that goodness, He provided for us there too.
I believe that there are God-Shaped Holes in each of us. These are the innermost places where only God can reach, and therefore only God can fill. And although I am still working to get my head around the why in it all, my faith shows me the how:
God loved us so much that He sent His Son to die on the cross for us. Jesus’ death and resurrection was the necessary sacrifice that bridged the gap between a perfect God and an imperfect world. And because that bridge has been built, we can approach almighty God and call Him Father and Friend.
He cares about the biggest decisions in our lives and cares just as much about the tiny ones. He guides and directs, challenges and refines. He is ever-present, ever-powerful, and ever-loving in every circumstance. But, from the very beginning, we as His creation have battled with the temptation to sell out and buy into some of the cheap substitutes the enemy or world offers instead of waiting for God’s best.
Much like my battle with the “thing” (read the last post here for some background,) I can so easily be talked into letting my hunger get the best of me and end up scarfing down the closest thing or the easiest thing instead. I think the devil is a genius and he has figured out some really great ways of taking our good, natural hungers (food, safety, relationship) and twisting them just a bit to get us chasing the wrong ball.
Just think about all the things we hunger for these days. We hear about people being “power hungry” or “money hungry.” We can look around and see a lot of people struggling with being hungry for security, for acceptance, for love. We can be hungry for recognition or affection or even Maudie’s Mexican Happiness Platter (f ya’ll haven’t figured out what my “thing” is, there’s your hint!) But these are not the things that God designed us to yearn for.
Every REAL need we have was created by God and can be filled by God. He made us hungry so we would seek Him to meet our needs. He crafted our bodies to work the way they do for a reason and it is the same way with our hearts. He has promised to provide for us in every way- physically, emotionally, spiritually. But where it gets hard is that He also gave us free will so we could choose His way.
If I paraphrase Deuteronomy 8:3, it says, “And he humbled you and let you hunger…that he might make you know that man does not live by bread alone, but man lives by every word that comes from the mouth of the LORD. “(ESV)
He wants us to hunger for relationship with Him, for His word, for His truth. If you have ever wondered why relationships are so hard or felt a little lonely, you are right on track. This world is a temporary place, fraught with disappointment and brokenness. But our Father offers the provision of faith and relationship with Him to help get us through. And even better, He offers the provision of Heaven and eternal life if we place our trust in His Son.
I’ve noticed a lot of people don’t mind talking about God, but instantly look uncomfortable when you say “Jesus.” We all like to feel like we are spiritual in some way and most people will agree that they think there is a higher power of some sort. But too often, people will stop short and stay in a place where they can’t quite believe that Jesus is the answer or that faith is even relevant.
I know about this place. I lived there for many many years. Some of you reading this have too. Some of you reading this are still camped out there. I can’t say I blame you. IBelieveInGodButI’mNotSureWhatIThinkAboutTheJesusThingAndDoesItReallyMatterAnyway is the most popular theology around. It’s a comfortable and shady place, but it is not the place that God wishes us to be.
The problem with this place is that is cheats you of the intimate relationship with God you were created to seek and enjoy. This place is a cheap substitute the world offers to keep you from the real thing.
This is why it is good to be hungry. Hungry is that little pull in your heart that tells you that there is something more, something wonderful. Hungry is the place where you open up just enough to let God’s truth fill you and heal you.
If you are a person of faith, get hungry. If you are already there, hold onto to that season as long as you can. This is the time where God fills and equips you for those other harder seasons. This is the time to feed on His truth and His word and satisfy that yearning inside you to know God better than ever. This is the honeymoon season and He is the reason for the season.
If you BelieveInGodButAreNotSureWhatYouThinkAboutTheJesusThingOrIfItMattersAnyway, GREAT! Be hungry. God loves you right where you are, but He has so much He wants to show you and share with you.
Ask the hard questions. God is not offended by this. Seek someone credible who might be willing to try to help you find the answer. My experience in coming to faith is that there is a lot of misinformation about who God is and what it means to be a Christian. Once again, there are lots of cheap substitutes (even on the steps of the altar) to keep you from having the real thing. To protect yourself from all of this, simply ask God to guide you as you try to find out more about Him. Simply say, “God, if you are real and you can hear me, will you reveal yourself to me? Will you show me who you really are and what relationship with you might mean? I want to know you God. Please lead me to a better understanding of your love and your plan for my life.”
Again, there’s no prayer God loves to answer more than “Fill me, Father.” He created you for the very moment you ask that question and the very moment your heart hears the answer and is finally filled.
Come hungry. Leave happy.
If you have questions about taking that first step in faith or growing your faith, please contact me on my connect page. I don’t have all the answers, but I will be happy to talk with you about this and/or get you with someone who can help you on this journey.