Earlier today I found myself digging through a duffel bag full of old books and things that I haven’t touched in close to a year. I was searching for a particular book when I came across some old journals from the past few years. Intrigue grabbed hold of me and wouldn’t let me go, so I snagged one that I knew was more recent and began skimming through it.
Upon reading a few random pages, I quickly discovered that this particular book chronicled the second half of my freshman year at IHOPU through the first half of my sophomore year – one of the most exciting yet trying seasons of my life so far.
I describe it that way because the Lord was doing a deep work in my heart which was painful, uncomfortable, and confrontational in order to lead me to new and deeper levels of freedom, joy, and life in Him.
Curiosity may have killed the cat, but I thankfully I didn’t suffer the same fate as skimming through my journal turned into reading through it page by page. I was convicted in my heart as I realized just how passionately in love with Jesus I was, how much I hungered and thirsted for Him not only in word but also in deed. I remembered the joy and pain of lovesickness. I remembered the sweetness of those times even in the midst of the rising waters of the storms of life. There was something so beautiful, so exciting, so wonderful about that season.
I was hungry. Not because I was starving, but because just like David explains in Psalm 34:8, I had tasted and seen of the goodness of the Lord and it made me want more. This led me to to internal dialogue with the Lord about my current state of hunger. What I began to realize was slightly painful. Allow me to explain three different types of hunger I considered.
The first type of hunger is the kind of hunger you get when you’ve been deprived of something. It’s legitimate hunger, not the “I’m not bursting at the seems so I’m still hungry” definition of the word that western culture seems to have adapted. You’re hungry because you have a need. You’ll die without food, so you desperately do whatever it takes to satisfy the hunger.
The second type of hunger isn’t technically hunger, but in light of what I explained a moment ago about our western culture, just roll with it. This is the kind of hunger you get when you’re not technically hungry, but there’s someone sitting across the table from you eating a slice of pizza that’s so dang enticing that you just have to get one for yourself. You’re hungry because someone else has provoked or influenced you to be.
The third type of hunger follows suit with the second in that it’s not really hunger, but again, just humor me. :) This is the type of hunger that comes when you’ve tasted something so incredibly delicious that you don’t ever want to stop eating it – ever. I’m immediately reminded of my grandmother’s coconut cake… a coconut layer cake (made from scratch) with raspberry preserves serving as the glue between each layer, smothered in a cream cheese frosting, and finally coated with shaved coconut. It’s. The. Bomb. So decadent, yet light enough that you could easily go back for seconds, maybe even thirds if you can make room. And even then your tastebuds don’t want you to stop. It’s just so mouthwateringly incredible. This hunger can make you do things you wouldn’t normally do, almost cycling around to the first type of hunger where desperation for more overtakes you.
After reading through my dusty journal, I realized that in that season I was gripped with hunger number three. I had tasted and seen of the Lord’s goodness, and I couldn’t get enough. I did whatever I could to make room for more of Him. I shifted my schedule, laid things down and picked things up – whatever I needed to do in order to have more of Him. I had gotten a taste and was ruined for anything less.
Then my heart sank as I realized that I’ve lost that hunger. I’ve gotten to the place where I’ve tasted, but I’ve allowed myself to be satisfied with the taste, more like the second type of hunger. So lately my hunger tends to be stirred more by the influence of others around me than by my own desperation for more. As painful as it is to admit, I am overwhelmed by the mercy of the Lord to reveal it to me. My desire is to never again be satisfied by just a small taste and only desire more because I’m jealous for what others have. It’s incredible to me that He would even allow the hunger of others to stir me up when I’m getting cozy in my own complacency.
Friends, He is so jealous of our love, our time, our attention. I encourage you to examine your own heart before Him and get real with yourself. Have you been starving your whole life, never having tasted and seen of the Lord’s goodness in order to hunger for more? Call upon His name, confess your sins, and set your heart to surrender to His ways. The hunger will only increase from here. Perhaps like me you’ve gotten a taste but decided that it was enough. Are you so satisfied with the small measure you’ve been given that you’re not making room for more? Start making time for Him. Start asking Him to stir up hunger in your heart once again. He’s waiting for You. Maybe you’re at a place where hunger has taken it’s hold and won’t let go. Cherish it. Hunger is a gift. Don’t take it for granted. Are you being a good steward of what He is giving to You? Are you still making room for Him and asking for more? Don’t ever stop.
Hunger is a gift. But you gotta put some effort into taking off the ribbon, tearing through the paper, opening the box, and pulling back the tissue paper to get to it. It’s not always easy. But it never disappoints. Claim the gift and take hold of it. It’s waiting for you. And whether you know it or not, you’re waiting for it.