Sometimes I walk into the kitchen at home and look into the pantry and the refrigerator and despair. There is nothing but ingredients here! I want to eat now! Of course, eating well requires learning to cook. We have to learn how to put ingredients together in nourishing and tasty ways. Spiritual hunger is like that too.
Most of us have had an experience, or at least a glimpse, of the divine. We know, somehow, that there is some kind of connection and purpose between our lives and the lives of the people we love. We know that the beauty of nature is more than an esthetic pleasure, that it somehow connects to our deepest purpose and even our hopes and dreams. So how do we satisfy a hunger for the divine? How do we satisfy a hunger for God?
As Christians, we believe that Jesus shows us how to know God, how to trust in God, and how to experience God’s love. A whole tradition of spiritual practices grew out of the experiences of people following Jesus in community. These practices are like recipes. When we follow them we are rewarded with good food, or spiritual rewards.
I know how to cook, and yet, I still walk into the kitchen and stare into the refrigerator hoping for leftovers or anything I can just eat. I think we do the same thing with our spiritual hunger sometimes. The more I cook, the better I get at making meals that taste good and satisfy. The more I keep the classic spiritual disciplines, the more I experience the closeness of God. Daily prayer, stewardship, weekly worship, these things deepen my experience of the divine.
Interestingly though, hunger isn’t really a good metaphor, because our hunger doesn’t diminish. In fact, our hunger and desire to be close to God GROWS the better we are at accessing the experience of God’s presence. The more we know the divine, the more we hunger for it. The more we know God’s presence, the more we hunger. The difference is, when our hunger grows because we are loving God, we are also full of joy.
Yours in Christ,