As month after month of daily nausea rolled by, I sometimes wondered what it would be like to enjoy eating again. (Read more about my health here.)
Despite the nausea, I forced each bite down. I dreaded meal time. I often wished I didn’t have to eat. Though I tried it was impossible to eat the same as I would before. Some days I could only eat one meal. I began to lose weight.
Food doesn’t produce life, but it does sustain it.
Hunger is a gift. It is given by God to help us. Without it we face difficulty in maintaining necessary nourishment.
As I’ve walked through this season of nausea and zero appetite, my physical symptoms have become a metaphor for my spiritual life.
Made for Relationship
God created us with physical hunger. He also created us with spiritual hunger. Ecclesiastes says that God set eternity in the hearts of men. (Ecclesiastes 3:11) He designed us for relationship with Himself.
This was His intention from the beginning. Adam and Eve walked with God in the garden before the Fall. After the Fall, God was still pursuing relationship with His people. He promised He would be with Abraham, Isaac, Jacob, and Joseph.
During the time of the Israelites, His desire was to dwell among His people. He gave specific patterns for a tabernacle– the place His presence would stay. When Israel and Judah fell into captivity the prophets foretold a day when God would once again dwell among His people.
Then Jesus came! And when Jesus returned to the Father His Spirit came to dwell within us.
The Holy Spirit is called the promise of God in Galatians. We learn that the outpouring of the Holy Spirit was promised to Abraham way back in Genesis 12.
However, the outpouring of the Holy Spirit is only a downpayment of our future inheritance. Revelation foretells the day when God will once again walk among His people.
From cover to cover the Bible is about a holy God who desires relationship with His people, a people made for relationship with their holy God.
Made for Hunger
Were are designed for relationship with God– doesn’t it make sense that we are designed to hunger after Him?
David expresses this longing throughout the Psalms.
As a deer pants for flowing streams, so pants my soul for you, O God. My soul thirsts for God, for the living God. When shall I come and appear before God?Psalm 42:1-2
O God, you are my God; earnestly I seek you; my soul thirsts for you; my flesh faints for you, as in a dry and weary land where there is no water.Psalm 63:1
My soul longs, yes, faints for the courts of the LORD; my heart and flesh sing for joy to the living God.Psalm 84:2
I stretch out my hands to you; my soul thirsts for you like a parched land.Psalm 143:6
There are also a multitude of promises in the Word of God regarding hunger. The other week I read Psalm 107. Verse 7 struck me.
For he satisfies the longing soul, and the hungry soul he fills with good things.Psalm 107:9
It’s so simple. You long, He satisfies. You hunger, He fills. And He fills with good things.
I am hungry again. Praise Jesus– my nausea is dissipating and hunger returning. That day I wondered about has come! I am so thankful to be able to enjoy eating. I don’t think I will ever take the gift of hunger for granted again or complain about needing to stop working to eat.
As a result of my health issues I am eating a very different diet. It requires me to avoid grains and dairy and eat a lot of vegetables, among other things.
While planning out meals for the upcoming week I was struck by the variety of vegetables God designed. It’s true, I can no longer eat some of my favorite foods like pizza, ice cream, and cheese. But there are so many I can eat! If I choose, I can see the excitement in eating a new way. There are many vegetables and fruits I’ve never tasted– here’s my reason to!
How much more should I be excited for the Lord to satisfy my spiritual hunger? If He’s designed an abundance of good things for our physical bodies to savor and delight in, how much more should we expect for our souls? If there are fruits and vegetables I’ve never tasted how much greater are the treasures of my infinite God?
Lack of Hunger
But what if you aren’t hungry? What if you have no desire to read or study the Bible? What if prayer seems like drudgery? What if Jesus feels far away and you are okay with that?
When I wasn’t hungry I still needed to eat. I knew that it was most important for me to eat when I most didn’t feel like it. So I kept eating. Like I said above, I forced my food down. It wasn’t easy. I dreaded eating. But it was possible, and necessary.
This has become a metaphor for my soul. When I find myself lacking hunger spiritually, not longing after Jesus, bored and satisfied with where I’m at, I know I need to eat.
The verse that comes to mind is Psalm 34:8 “Taste and see that the Lord is good.” When my soul has forgotten how good Jesus truly is I need to taste Him afresh. Though reading the Bible or praying may be the last thing I feel like doing it’s what I need the most. The Lord promises to draw near to us as we draw near to Him. (James 4:8)
- If you find yourself lacking hunger come and eat.
- If you find yourself “hungering and thirsting after righteousness” come and eat. (Matthew 6:33)
Jesus is good and He fills the hungry with good things.