I like the Snickers commercials. The premise is that you’re not yourself when you’re hungry. You behave like a totally different person and you have no idea why. Then you get food and realize: oh! I was just hungry!
When I was a kid I remember every time I would get upset about something my family would exchange glances and ask one another when was the last time I ate. I have learned to spot my signs of hunger. Irritability, mental confusion, shakiness are all symptoms that prompt me to check my stomach and consider whether or not I might need food.
I think it would be neat if we could start to identify the symptoms of God-hunger. In the same way we’ve learned to feel pangs in our stomach and almost automatically realize what we want is food, what if we could learn to connect the pangs in our soul to our hunger for God?
When I feel panic and insecurity in relationships, when I experience a disproportionate fear of failure, when I find myself replaying conversations over and over again, I want to consider the thought: when was the last time I ate from God’s Words? When was the last time I feasted on truth? I want these kinds of symptoms to trigger the realization that I might be hungry for God.
If we could become people who learn to spot the signs of being hungry for God, maybe we could stop eating people when what we really want is Him.
Cause the thing is, when you’re hungry your tastebuds get confused.
To one who is hungry everything bitter is sweet. (Proverbs 27:7 ESV)
You are a needy creature. You are needy for love and approval and significance and pleasure. God designed you this way because each of these cravings is actually for Him. You hunger for love because God made you to depend on His love. You are desperate for approval because God made you to be lost without His approval in Christ. You clamber for significance because God made your soul to find its significance in Him. You long for pleasure because God made you to dwell in His presence where there are pleasures forevermore. All these needs and hungers are for Him.
When we eat His truth and let His words dwell in us richly, His Spirit begins to nourish our soul. He enables us to begin to believe in the radical love of God. He gives us a sense of the unwavering approval we have in Christ. Through Him, we can experience the significance of God’s calling on our lives. His Spirit will give us a taste of the pleasure possible in His presence.
When we don’t listen to God speak truth over us through His Word our appetites go unsatisfied and we go into our days hungry. We eat whatever the world offers and, because we’re so hungry, bitter things start to taste sweet to us. Wrong things taste right. We conclude that we are actually hungry for things this earth can provide instead of Him. So those are the things we pursue.
But they are never enough. We want more. Because hunger for an eternal Creator can never be satisfied by mere creatures. Sooner or later you will begin to see the cracks and feel the symptoms of God hunger: grasping, neediness, insecurity, panic, frustration, anxiety, uneasiness, irritation. Your food source is not enough. Because you’re hungry for bigger things; a bigger Person.
What would shift in our lives if we could begin to spot the signs of God-hunger and consider in the middle of that conversation with a co-worker or that argument with our spouse, that our feelings might actually be indicators that we need to eat the promises of God? What would shift if – instead of demanding provision from the person across from us – we could hit pause and put our head down on the desk, or turn off the radio in the car and dwell on the satisfaction of Christ? What would happen if we could wait on God: feast on the abundance of His Word until our appetites are tempered and drink from the river of His delights until our thirsts are quenched?