I’ve learned this lesson many times: Heavenly hunger is different from physical hunger. But this is a spiritual lesson, and I feel like those (lessons about God) are kind of unique. Why is it that we only have to learn the same lesson once, or maybe twice if we’re hard-headed… but when it comes to lessons from and about God specifically, about heavenly things, we sometimes learn the lesson a dozen times without it ever sticking? Why is it so easy to forget?
- We’ve all learned not to touch fire/stoves. You either took your parents’ word for it, or you had to touch it a couple times to see for yourself how dangerous it is, but after that, you never purposefully do it again. Such is the nature of physical lessons.
- On the other hand, in the Old Testament we see the Jews utterly amazed at God’s power. Yet some time later, they just forget. Again and again God shows them miracles and wonders, and we read it and ask ourselves how anyone could ever doubt after seeing the things those people saw. The parting of the Red Sea? Hello?! Spiritual lessons just don’t seem to stick!
And I do the same thing in my own life. Again and again I learn how much peace and joy increase when I’m walking closely with God, and again and again I forget and let that relationship be neglected.
Hungering after God is very different than hungering physically (after food).
I had a low-calorie day on Monday. I do that sometimes to either make up for some high calorie days or to try to trick my body into moving past a plateau in my weight-loss. It was a struggle on Monday, as it usually is, because the less I eat, the more I crave food! When I don’t eat, I get HUNGRY.
Besides physical hunger, there’s another kind. But hungering after God is not the same. It isn’t triggered as much by distance from God. When you haven’t read your Bible recently, you don’t have increasing hunger pangs as the days pass. Actually, you have fewer. Unlike physical hunger, this kind of hunger seems to decrease when you abstain. In fact, you have more hunger pangs when you’re consuming the spiritual things that you hunger after.
When you’re praying every day, you long for more time – more closeness – more of God. The hunger is greatest when you’re indulging, rather than when abstaining.
Don’t Eat Till You’re Hungry
It’s a shame how I sabotage my relationship with God sometimes by saying “I don’t feel like… (fill in the blank).” Reading my Bible. Praying. Basically, I’m saying, “I’m not hungry right now.” I forget what I’ve learned over and over through the years – which is that often the hunger isn’t there until I start eating.
Don’t eat until you feel hungry may work for your body, but it won’t work for your spirit. So I guess I just want to encourage myself and others to remember. (And believe me, sometimes remembering requires a lot of effort.)
There are so many reasons to keep up your close relationship with your Lord. First and foremost, he loves you, and he longs to have you close. Secondly, when you’re faithful, blessings come. Third, peace and comfort and joy come from that close walk with God.
There are many things that can come between us and the Lord. Distractions, responsibilities… lack of hunger. Don’t let them. Force yourself to remember, and enjoy the benefits of that loving relationship. The hunger will come, but don’t wait for it. Don’t wait to “feel like it.”