Over the last 15 months, I have walked through a valley of sickness. Not being able to hold food down has changed my life, in so many ways for the better. Not physically, but rather spiritually and it has transformed my perspectives. It has taught me a lot about hunger. Of course, I now have more compassion for those who are physically hungry. Those who have little to eat. But the greatest change has been in my understanding of spiritual hunger. As a result of this last year, my dependence upon God is at an all time high. I have had to trust Him for my daily needs as well as for the strength to walk through life. But what of spiritual hunger?
It’s not a plea for sympathy, but for 15 months, I was hungry every night, through the night. I couldn’t eat past a certain time and then I lost all of that. Every night was spent with my stomach growling and hungry for food. All night was spent anticipating my morning meal. I looked forward to the morning.
After all these months, I have come to understand that this is the type of spiritual hunger God desires for us to have. How often do we long for the morning that we can spend time with our Heavenly Father? How often do we long for Christ to satisfy our spiritual hunger? After all, He is the Bread of Life and only He can satisfy. It begs us the question, are we more hungry for physical food than we are spiritual?
The Psalmist was a man of hunger. He spent much time in caves on the run from his enemies. He understood what hunger and thirst truly was. But, in all of those times on the run, what he longed for more than anything was the Lord’s presence.
1 O God, you are my God;
I earnestly search for you.
My soul thirsts for you;
my whole body longs for you
in this parched and weary land
where there is no water.
Notice the longing for the Lord’s presence and the intensity of the Psalmist's hunger and thirst for God. In essence he is saying, "I long for you with everything inside of me." He is in a parched and weary land and he needs the water only God can give. He longs to be satisfied by the Almighty. But the hunger does not end there.
6 I lie awake thinking of you,
meditating on you through the night.
7 Because you are my helper,
I sing for joy in the shadow of your wings.
8 I cling to you;
your strong right hand holds me securely.
The Psalmist, too, is hungry through the night. He lies awake thinking of the things of God. He meditates on Him and on His goodness. It is in those night watches, in those moments of hunger that he finds himself clinging to God.
My friend, does your heart long for God in a similar way? How often do we meditate on God and on His goodness? I have found it true of life that God will use the circumstances and hard times we face to draw us closer to Him. It is never His intention to drive us away. Yet, it is our choice what we will do! How will you respond in the moments when you need Him the most? Will you seek Him and be driven to Him with a deeper hunger for His touch? Or will you leave His nudging unheeded?
I am thankful that after these 15 months of hunger, I am better and holding down food. However, the spiritual hunger remains. I am hungrier for a move of God than I have been in a long time. May God draw us nearer to Him and allow us to experience His fulness. I challenge you to seek Him and ask Him to give you a deeper hunger for His presence and His touch.
Danny and his wife, Sonya, have been lead pastors at Rogers First Assembly in Rogers, Arkansas since 2008.