“Hunger is not the problem; it is the object of our hunger that must be reexamined.”
Thoughts from daily Bible reading for today – March 4, 2021
My soul thirsts for God, for the living God. When shall I come and behold the face of God? Psalm 42:2 (NRSV)
Most of the time, hunger is seen as something to avoid. Whether it is the more obvious hunger for food, or the subtle, yet no less real hunger for power, wealth, or intimacy, we believe our desires are meant to be fulfilled. Unfulfilled desires lead to starvation, and starvation leads to death. And so, we spend the vast majority of our lives avoiding hunger and filling ourselves to the brim.
If every hunger could be trusted, every desire pure and undefiled, then all would be well. Yet as we all know, this simply is not the case. We hunger for things that will not satisfy, and fill our lives with fleeting pleasures that sour in our stomachs and misdirect our hearts. In light of this, sometimes we are convinced that the only solution is to shut down our hunger, learning to no longer desire anything at all. Understandable as this may be, it would be a profound mistake!
Hunger is not the problem; it is the object of our hunger that must be reexamined.
The Psalms are filled with longing, hunger, and desire. The psalmist’s soul “thirsts for God” (Psalm 42:2). We all thirst. We all hunger. We are all filled with deep longings. Yet are they longings for God?
Spiritual hunger must be cultivated and pursued. We choose to embrace the gift of hunger and to redirect that longing away from food, drink, or physical pleasure and instead long for the living water that will never run dry (John 7:37). Hunger keeps us moving, it activates and motivates us to search for God and the life of the Spirit.
For many Christians, this time of year is known as Lent, which is a traditional season of fasting in preparation for Easter. Extended seasons of fasting may cause the modern Christian to raise an eyebrow. Isn’t that just another form of legalism or works-based living? If we lose sight of the goal and destination, this certainly might be a temptation and problem. However, what if it is an invitation into renewed living, teaching us for a limited amount of time something that is meant to always be true in our lives: all of our hungers and desires are fulfilled in Christ alone.
Father, help us to cultivate a spiritual hunger that turns our hearts and lives towards you, we pray through Christ our Lord. Amen.
Consider abstaining from one meal this week, using the time to seek the Lord in prayer and biblical meditation.
Psalm 84:2; Psalm 143:6; Isaiah 26:9
Start the new year with Boyd’s newest 365 day devotional book: Seeking God’s Heart
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