It’s no accident that Jesus was laid in a food trough when He was born. Not only does it indicate His great humility and humiliation, but from the very beginning, the Gospel teaches us that God is our food. God is our life.
But if God wants us to understand that we need Him like food, then it really shouldn’t come as a surprise that we get hungry for Him. But hunger can be a funny thing. Hunger can sneak up on you, and sometimes, maybe even hours after a missed meal, things are feeling funny or a little off, but you don’t always know what the problem is. You think maybe you’re tired, maybe you start feeling grumpy, or you’re not thinking as clearly as usual, and you’re tempted to go all philosophical and dark – maybe it’s because of the way I was raised, I’m not a very good mother, I’m not a very good Christian, but the problem is you missed lunch.
If our physical bodies are like that, and God invites us to this meal every week, it is no stretch at all to point out that our souls are like that too. And here’s the point I want to make: the fact that you feel hungry doesn’t mean something has gone wrong. The fact that something feels off, the fact that something is not quite right when you’re spiritually hungry is not a sign of not being very spiritual. The fact that you feel spiritual hunger is a sign of spiritual life. Dead people aren’t hungry.
Of course you can sin in a state of hunger. You can snap in frustration. You can give in to some lust. You can thoughtlessly share something that isn’t helpful or edifying. But the hunger itself is good. The hunger is supposed to drive you to God. The hunger reminds you that you were made for communion with God. And what food can never do — forgive your sins — God loves to do.
Don’t wallow around in guilt when you realize it’s been a few days since you last read your Bible. Thank God for reminding you to read your Bible. Thank God for the life that is in you that is hungry for prayer. Thank God for church. Yes, of course we want our appetite for God to grow, but don’t measure your spiritual life by ounces or minutes or hours.
Are you a sinner? Then come. Are you hungry? That means you’re alive. Are you hungry? Come and welcome to Jesus Christ.