In those comfortless days, although at the time my eyes couldn’t see it, my hands couldn’t touch it, and my mouth couldn’t taste it, God was answering my prayer for “a sign of [his] goodness.” (Psalm 86:17)
- He was teaching my heart to hunger. Learning anything is a lengthy process and takes time. Although I knew what it felt like to hunger for the Word, God was maturing me by helping me learn what it felt like to hunger for the Word even when I didn’t experience immediate relief from my hunger. In his wisdom, he was helping me to learn perseverance in hunger, to keep scavenging, searching, and desperately longing to have my growing hunger satiated.
- He was teaching my heart to hunger for what would really satisfy. Even though I tried to placate my hunger in many ways, and although God felt so far removed from my struggle, I would eventually learn he was actually drawing me closer, showing me that none of my striving for self-justification, self-righteous boasting in my good works, tears of grief over my sin, or even my self-loathing because of regrets and shame, were adequate to atone for my sin and give my soul rest. I came to him with a long list of attempts at satisfying my hunger and, although at the time it made me angry, he was kindly crossing off each one as failing. Not working. Insufficient.
- He was teaching my heart only Jesus would satisfy. As my angry despair was growing with each feeble try I made and he crossed off the list, he was narrowing my focus, fixing my soul on the only thing that would truly satisfy my hunger. Jesus and Jesus alone! And oh how good he looked against all of my sorry attempts at satisfaction. Yes, I knew Jesus. I knew Jesus had forgiven my sins in the past. But I believed the Christianized, moralistic lie that my joy and fellowship with him, moving forward, was based on my performance. How well I was keeping up with the expectations he had for me. If I was good at obeying all the “Christian rules” those around me were heralding as a measurement of spiritual growth. But finally, after I had tried it all, he showed me that what I was looking for had been there all along. Him! His perfect life of law-keeping for me. His perfect death on my behalf, satisfying the terror of God’s wrath against my sin from which I had been foolishly and unsuccessfully hiding and running. His perfectly secure standing before God held for me, immovable, regardless of my ongoing struggle with sin, and unchanged whether I felt like I was secure or not. His perfectly tight, inescapable grip on me, not because I had great faith, but because he is faithful and strong and will never lose one whom the Father gives him. I was in his hand and no one could pluck me out of it! Friends, I saw Jesus! He was my sign of God’s goodness; my assurance of God’s love for and acceptance of me! He was the Living Word for which the Written Word made me hunger. He was the Water for which my soul was panting. He was the Bread I craved. And I tasted of him and saw God’s goodness! My angry heart softened in the satisfaction of knowing that from his perfect fullness, I had been filled!
This sounds like such a happy ending and like my “hangry-ness” was dealt with once and for all, problem solved. But, sadly, that just isn’t the case. I am still in the fight. God has allowed me to see, often, he is cycling through this same pattern, working in my heart through a variety of circumstances. He is making me to hunger. He is showing me all the ways I’m trying to satisfy my hunger apart from him. And he is bringing me to full satisfaction in Jesus alone – who he is and what he has done – to relieve my hunger. My understanding of him and thankfulness for him increases every time. Even the process reminds me he is good and patient and loves me enough to grow me, all while holding me securely in his faithful grip, no matter what.
But, praise God, one day when Jesus returns, the hungering will be over. He will finally assuage the craving he started in us. For now, we’re enjoying the appetizer, but the main course is coming! And we will never be “hangry” again!
Isn’t it a wonderful truth that one day we will never spiritually hunger or thirst again? Until that time, we have to keep submitting to the process of finding our satisfaction in Jesus alone.
1. What has the process, outlined above, of hungering and finding true satisfaction looked like in your life?
2. Where are you in the process now?
3. What have you learned and are you learning about Jesus that satisfies your “hangry-ness”?