soup’s on, are you hungry?
[some of this is stolen from an INCREDIBLE talk from Ennie Hickman at a steubenville conference, but there’s a lot of my own heart in it too. so mmhm]
“how’s your relationship with God?” oh, good. I go to Mass. I pray every day. I run a youth group.
can you imagine.. “how’s your marriage?” oh, good. I make him dinner, he kisses me goodnight. check. check. check. But.. isn’t there more to it? a relationship is not about a to-do list. Actions matter; kissing your husband/wife goodnight, going to mass, it matters, even when you don’t feel like it. But that’s not all there is.
Feelings matter, too. And not just emotions, like feeling happy or apathetic about your walk with Jesus. But how you feel about Jesus Himself. How you see God as Father. As Friend, as Saviour, as King, as Bridegroom. As the bloody recompense for your smallest screw-ups.
I’m a homeschool student. The way it works is that I have my “lesson plans”, which tell me what and how much to focus on every day, in each subject. They were typed up by someone I don’t know, the same for me and for every student, and mailed to me from across the country. A list of impersonal instructions.
Sometimes I think of God like this; I think of God like someone I barely know, but whom I owe respect. I think of God like someone who typed out a list of instructions; exactly the same for me, and for everybody, and if I choose to follow them, I’ll get a good grade. Cool beans.
But God isn’t a set of homework instructions. God is closer than the air in my lungs and the blood in my veins. He is in me, more than my own heart is in me. He pumps life into my soul while he spins the earth. He is in and around every cell that compiles ‘me’ and he is more REAL than my own understanding, more REAL than anything I can see.
You know how kids are with food. They don’t sit around thinking about what they crave, like adults do. When they’re hungry, they just want something that isn’t icky, but preferably enjoyable, and they want it NOW. They need it now. They require—crave—demand it. And if you don’t feed them, not only will they obviously starve, but you’ll have a really grumpy kid to deal with. This doesn’t happen once in a while, it happens 5 or 6 times a day. Kids are aaalways hungry for more.
And when perhaps your little girl gets sick with the flu and you call the doctor, the first thing they’ll ask you is “Is she eating?” How’s her appetite? If she’s still eating, she’ll be okay. It’s a good way to tell the health of a Christian— are you hungry for God? What’s the level of desire you have for him? Have you stopped craving Him?
Spiritually, being ‘not hungry’ means that we’ve probably filled up with noise, or culture, or friends, and we’ve replaced our hunger for God with something that will, eventually, have us vomiting up this stuff which wasn’t meant to fill us. It will rob us of our appetite altogether.
It’s GOOD to be hungry, to not ever be ‘full’, because the thing about God’s nourishment, whether it’s life-giving water or the bread of life, is that as we receive it, we also give it. Even life-giving water, if it remains stagnant, is going to draw mosquitos and bugs and form a layer of dirt and dust on top. Who wants to drink that? Who will benefit from it? Who, if they drank it, wouldn’t get sick? This stagnant water has to be displaced with fresh water— moving water. We receive grace, love, life, from the Father and we give it away, so that we can receive again, and give it away once more. Always, always moving.
Now one might point out that Mary was called “full of grace” by the angel. Full, meaning, not hungry? Full, meaning- I’ve had enough of God?
So check out her Magnificat, her prayer of praise. She says:
“He has filled the hungry with good things, and the rich He has sent away empty.” luke 1:53
He fills the hungry; He fills those who have nothing in them already. He fills those who are completely empty of self-love, of pride, of attachment to worldly things. He fills those who are hungry for Him. The rich have their fill of the things of this life; they are, for the moment, satisfied. But their food will not last.
In the Hail Mary, we say to Mary “Blessed is the fruit of your womb: Jesus.”
She was so full of grace that she bore the greatest fruit there is, now do we see a pattern? She emptied herself, then she received until she was overflowing at the brim with grace… and then she gave.
The food that Jesus gives us is unlike any other. It satisfies every single want or ache or shortcoming that we have.
Are you lonely? He asks. I am with you.
Is nobody listening? I can hear you.
Do you feel pressure from the world’s expectations? You’re enough for Me.
Are you heartbroken? I’ve been there. I love you.
Are you disappointed? Let Me, your Jesus, fulfill your heart.
No matter how dirty-and-left-out we become, the dinner table is always set for us.
Are you hungry?