"Blessed are those who hunger and thirst for righteousness, for they shall be satisfied.”
Matthew 5:6 NASB
Hunger. A sting in your stomach that says, “something is missing.” A grumble within that says, “that wasn’t enough.” That burning sensation that reminds us of our need.
Some hunger for reputation. They spend all their days wondering, “how can I earn love? Friends? Followers? Likes?”
Others hunger for success. “What work can I do to make it good in this life — to fight my way to the top of the ladder?”
Others hunger for sex. They turn their head whenever she walks by. In Peru, they hide that lewd magazine up in the folding mirror — up and to the left of the rosary on their rearview mirror.
Many people hunger for many things, but few truly hunger for God.
Humans never hunger for anything until they get a sniff of it. The word “Pollo a la Brasa” meant nothing to me until I turned 8 — but once I tasted it in all its glory, I never stopped hungering again. Addicts don’t hunger for cigarettes, drugs, alcohol or pornography until they see their allure in order to feel their draw. In the same way, man never hungers for God until He gets a small taste of what God is like.
One may taste God in a warm smile from a kind, fatherly man. Another sees a glorious sunrise and can’t help but wonder who painted it. I think few men could breathe in the rolling mountains of North Carolina without craving something of Mount Zion. Really, how we come to crave matters little -- what matters is that craving turns to searching. If craving turns not to searching we will never be filled.
Look at the vast majority of Christians. Are they truly hungry for God? Are you? When I look at modern Christians (and myself), I can’t help but think of the false filling of fasting. If you eat normally, you'll get hungry two or three times a day. But if you fast for a few days, your hunger subsides. For a time, you feel satisfied.
I think this very thing has happened to millions of Christians around the world. We've stopped seeking to eat at the table of God’s presence, and so we've lost all of our hunger (that sting inside that said, “I want more of God"). The less that we encountered God, the less we truly desired to encounter Him. The more we filled ourselves with the sweets of the world, the less we craved the perfect meat of God’s Holy Word. Has it happened to you? It’s happened to me. Even while in another country on a mission.
But God calls us to recover our spiritual hunger — to “rebuild the temple” (Haggai 1:8 NASB) — and this never happens by sitting around. We recover our spiritual cravings by breaking our spiritual fast; by consuming spiritual foods. Even if while gritting our teeth, we must study the Word of God in search of His golden instruction. Even if with no spiritual unction, we must get on our knees and cry out to the God of Heaven for His glory to return. Even if by the sheer force of our will, we must obey Christ in all things and worship Him at all times.
Then, soon enough, we will taste and see that the Lord is good, and become hungry again. And if we hunger and thirst after righteousness, we will surely be filled.