Hunger: An Invitation to God’s Table

We cannot bear to feel empty for very long. In America we often have fast food restaurants every few yards, as capitalists cash in on our reluctance to experience hunger for more than a few minutes. The obesity epidemic confirms that we cannot bear the sensation of emptiness, that we are driven to satisfy the physical discomfort of hunger and the emotional discomfort of life: we want it NOW and we want it to wow the mouth.

We crave our junk food, however devoid it may be of real life-giving nourishment. We eat that which satisfies only briefly and makes us hungrier still. Eventually we may learn that what we’ve consistently fed ourselves has not only failed to nourish us, it has slowly stolen all vitality and strength of life; all because we cannot bear to be hungry.

But hunger is a gift, given by God to cause us to seek the nourishment we require for living. We must learn not to be afraid of it, or rush to fill the discomfort of it, with candy for the soul. God uses the word hunger as a metaphor for the neediness of the soul. We tend to do the same thing with the hunger of the soul that we do with physical hunger: finding it uncomfortable, we rush to fill our emptiness.

Our souls need love…peace…contentment…connection. Absent these for very long, we become frustrated and reach for anything to distract us from that hunger, like a Twinkie for the soul. Repeatedly turning to things which satisfy only briefly does not nourish our souls, and may even leave us addicted…to food, drugs, gaming, wrong relationships, and every other compulsion. Fast food is deceptive: it not only fails to give life, it actually steals life from us, day by day.

Don’t run away from your hunger, or rush to fill it with that which leaves you even more needy. Offer your hunger to God, of whom the ancients wrote,  “You open your hand and satisfy the desires of every living thing.” (Psalms 145:16, NIV)

Wait upon God in trust, and give Him a chance to satisfy your soul…for he cries out to his children, “Why spend money on what is not bread, and your labour on what does not satisfy? Listen, listen to me, and eat what is good, and your soul will delight in the richest of fare. Give ear and come to me; hear me, that your soul may live.” (Isaiah 55:2-3, NIV)