Friday, September 16, 2005

Really, really hungry. . .

. . .and not for a big mac.

Lately there is something inside of me that wants God on such a major level. I'm hungry to know him more. I'm running after God, reading His word, checking out what he has to say to me in our private time. I'm reading books, checking out deeper levels of His word.

It's a funny thing about spiritual hunger. It's not like our ordinary craving for the cheesy garlic biscuits at Red Lobster. You see, with ordinary hunger, once you've filled up then you're good to go--at least for a while.

But with spiritual hunger, the exact opposite kicks in. The more you eat, the hungrier you get, so you eat more, and the hungrier you get. So every time I read a cool or challenging passage in the Bible, I long to know more. Every time I'm challenged by a really great book (just finished Rob Bell's Velvet Elvis and Erwin R. McManus' Uprising), I'm ready to allow God to change my heart by what I learned.

There have been times in my life that I didn't feel God. I believed in him. I trusted him. But I couldn't sense his presence. Those weren't bad times in my life. I believe they were times that I was shaped and carved into a stronger follower of Christ. I learned to live by something other than feelings. It was important that I continued to eat spiritually during those testing times.

There have been times that I wasn't hungry for God coz I let everything else get in the way. I filled up the God-shaped hole in my life with stuff like activities and work and family and even ministry, but as cool as those things are they didn't come close because nothing can take the place of God. I became spiritually dry, almost barren like the wilderness. Not a place I like to hang out.

Whenever teens talk with me and share that they really want to know God, I tell them about this backwards hungry thing God has going on. I nudge them to eat spiritually in spite of their feelings. I ask them to get alone with God even if that seems like a lonely place to be right now. I tell them that the first few days everything will distract them, but to hang tight and just be real with God. I ask them to unplug--the cell phone, the computer, the Internet--and find a place that is reserved for just them and God, every day.

I tell them that something very cool jumpstarts in your heart and one day you wake up hungry -- really, really, hungry . . .

and it's not for a big mac.

It's for the God of the Universe -- the one that rocks the oceans and spins the earth on its axis and yet still sees you and me.

And that's just plain cool. So, if you aren't hungry, but you want to be, maybe right now is a good time to start eating. Want to dine together?


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