Why God does not intend to satisfy your hunger for Him
Does your journey with God have a key word? For me, the key word would have to be hunger. At times life in the church has resembled far too much the Hunger Games, but even in those times, there has been a driving force within me: hunger for God. My theme verse is Psalm 42:1-2a – “As the deer pants for streams of water, so my soul pants for you, my God. My soul thirsts for God, for the living God.” I once taught a class on the spiritual disciplines, and my students gave me a little plaque with that verse on it. It was a gracious and poignant gift.
In this edition of Friday Soulfest (about Friday Soulfest, see note below), let’s talk about hunger for God and why God has no intention of satisfying it.
Hunger implies wanting something we don’t have enough of. When people are hungry for nutrition, they experienced great physical and emotional stress. People have killed for food.
Hunger for God means wanting more of him than we currently experience. It is a state of holy discontent, and the discontent drives us to keep pursuing God no matter what is going on around us. I believe all people are born with a hunger for God, but most of us bury it under other, lesser hungers like success, romance, and safety.
Ironically, it is best if your hunger for God is not fully satisfied in this life. Last week I quoted Alan Fadling, and again this week I find common threads between his book An Unhurried Life and my book Luminous. I marked these sentences in Fadling’s book.
God has helped me see that if our longings for God were always easily fulfilled, they might not have the opportunity to become more deeply rooted. In other words, when we live with unfulfilled longings for a while, if we feel a thirst that is not quickly quenched, and if we resist the urge to escape into empty activities and false promises of refreshment or fullness, our longings are deepened and perhaps even strengthened. (p. 132)
Make sure you pay close attention to the “if” clauses in that excerpt. They are important.
Teresa of Avila, John of the Cross, and other prayer masters of the Christian tradition have further taught that having powerful experiences of God only makes us more hungry for God. His sweetness and love inflame our souls to want him all the more. So it appears full satisfaction of our hunger is not God’s intention at all.
In the name of all this landing in a practical place, I offer a prayer exercise from Luminous to help launch you into this weekend. May it be a weekend where you are blessed with more hunger than satisfaction!
Insights happen as we reflect on God’s truth, and the Holy Spirit brings it home to our hearts. Are you hungry for insight about Jesus and how to live with him? Whether this hunger is strong or faint, take a few minutes to feel it. Express that feeling to God. Use your own words or borrow some from Scripture (like Psalm 42:1-2a, “As the deer pants for streams of water, so my soul pants for you, my God. My soul thirsts for God, for the living God.”) After you have felt and expressed your God-hunger for a few minutes, make a vow to be a person who allows your hunger to impel you to pursue God today and in the future. (p. 30)
About Friday Soulfest… How better to head into a weekend than a soulfest? That’s a festival for your soul, and it means connecting with God in deeply happy-making ways. Throughout 2014, I will be posting excerpts and prayer exercises from my book Luminous: Living the Presence and Power of Jesus. With these posts, I hope to give you springboards for communing with Jesus. He’s the one who puts the fest in our souls!