When Hunger Cracks You Open


Spiritual hunger—and feelings of emptiness—can sometimes be uncomfortable, but it has a way of opening us up to draw nearer to God.

"A satisfied soul loathes the honeycomb, but to a hungry soul every bitter thing is sweet." Proverbs 27:7 (NKJV)

There must be more.

I was 15 and full of expectation when I came to know God personally. Everything about Him felt new. I filled the pages of a yellow legal pad (turned-prayer-journal) with Scripture I'd never read before and made long lists of names of those around me whom I wanted to see impacted for God.

I dreamed about changing the world, with Him.

I said "yes" to Jesus and stepped on the fast track to an in-filling, to growth.

The cavern in me was gone and I worked hard to tell others about Jesus so the holes in their lives, too, could be filled.

But somewhere in my 20s I felt that hole, again. I couldn't identify it. Where was this coming from? I was doing all I knew to follow God well. I rarely left the house in the morning without first reading my Bible. I told others about Him. Often. I memorized Scripture and disciplined my life. I was running — hard.

But in the rare, quiet moments, something inside felt hollow. Where was God and how could I access Him? How could I have known Him for nearly a decade, only to know "empty" again?

That's when my external life began to reflect the echo of my insides. Ministry wasn't the oiled machine it once was. I felt opposition where there had been ease. My marriage was strained when we were supposed to be carefree and in love. I was tired. We hadn't even learned yet that my womb was as physically barren as my heart felt.

I sat at the kitchen table mid-day, searching for some kind of answer, when I read a verse I thought surely I'd never read before: "A satisfied soul loathes the honeycomb, But to a hungry soul every bitter thing is sweet" (Proverbs 27:7).

Hunger didn't fit my understanding grid. If God fills us, where is there room for hunger? If He is all we need, shouldn't life in Him be a succession of growth and happiness and impact?

But my soul was hungry. I couldn't deny it. Scripture read like a sterile history book. I told others about the radiant love of God, but I felt bone-dry on the inside. The dissonance between my big words and my shrinking heart was unsettling. If I were to continue walking with Him, I had to see Him in a new way.

And He responded, even before I knew how to ask. This verse became the beginning of a road map.

My daughter struggles to receive my input — her heart, once-orphaned and still reeling from that ache, is temporarily unbending. I've cried out for healing and my body is still broken. The relationship I long to be mended hangs in the balance and everyday life feels stretched, taut thin.

Each one of these is a holy opportunity for spiritual hunger.

Hunger makes me uncomfortable.

And yet it cracks me open.

Hunger opens me up to scoot near enough that I might smell His skin. Hunger makes His Word come alive against my insides — because I need Him, here.

The same hunger that makes me want to climb right out of my body because of these circumstances invites me into an unconventional brush with God.

And His callused hand against my weak heart does turn the bitter ... to sweet.

God, let us not become numb to hunger. Increase our hunger so that we might see You as You really are — in Your Word. In Jesus' Name, Amen.

Psalm 42:1-2a, "As the deer pants for the water brooks, So pants my soul for You, O God. My soul thirsts for God, for the living God." (NKJV)

Isaiah 55:1, "Ho! Everyone who thirsts, Come to the waters; And you who have no money, Come, buy and eat. Yes, come, buy wine and milk without money and without price." (NKJV)

Take five minutes today and sit before God with your delays. Take a walk or find a swing in the park or go for a drive. Ask Him to increase your hunger for His Word and to meet you, right there. And wait and watch for His response.

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