One day my wife revealed to me a trick of the female trade. She said older women had told her that if noon approached and the meal wasn't ready, but hubby's stomach clock was clanging, one need not despair. Just trot off to the kitchen, melt some butter into a pan and cut up onions into the sizzling butter. The smell mounts like a bird of paradise and wafts its way to the hungry husband's olfactory glands. The result is a psychological, 'ahhhhh” as he relaxes with the promise of good things to come, and it buys mama some time. I'll admit that the smell of butter and onions cooking doesn't move me the same way since I found that out. It's like the magician showed you how he really saws the lady in half. You know, getting hungry poses no problem for me. Come lunchtime, my stomach squalls like four-day old baby deprived of milk.
I wish I was always so hungry for God. I want to be, that's a fact, because I love Him and want to be all I can for Him. And Jesus himself promised, 'Blessed are those who hunger and thirst for righteousness, for they will be filled.” (Matt. 5:6, NIV). If there is anything I want, it's to be blessed by God and I know that when I hunger and thirst for Him, I'm blessed. What does it mean, to be hungry for God? Hungry to know Him, to win others to Him, to be like Him, to enjoy His presence in prayer, to enjoy His presence in worship, to feel His strength as you go about your daily tasks. Hungry! It's just that sometimes my hunger level is kind of pitiful. Why is that?
Well, sometimes I fill up on 'chips,” and other goodies. There's only so much room in my spirit for distractions. So all my great goals in life plus baseball, football, reading, friends, etc. take a toll on my passion level. I spend a lot and passion there. Sometimes it's good to step away”"just you and God”"maybe skip a few meals, or leave off television and newspapers for a month. Even ...gasp... internet! (Except for Coffee Stains, of course).
Mark Twain told a silly story of a man who had lost his appetite in a short story called, 'At the Apetite-Cure.” The specialist put him in a room, locked the door and gave him a menu with all sorts of disgusting things to eat, but considering the severity of his lack of appetite, he could only order from the fifteenth item on. At first he turned up his nose as the horrible fare, but when 26 hours had passed, he tried to order some of the less repulsive things at the first of the menu. Nothing doing. Forty-eight hours passed and he was ravenous and much further down the list in his ordering. Finally, after 60 hours he thought he could stomach the 60th item: 'Soft-boiled spring chicken”"in the egg!” By that time the specialist figured he was cured and served him a big steak instead. Then he gave him some healthy advice about eating which preserved his appetite.
The shock cure works, and maybe if our spiritual batteries are dead a retreat from the hundred mile an hour pace filled with 'chips and cookies” might do wonders for our awareness of God. Hanging out with people who have an appetite helps too. Nothing like a beautiful description of a favorite dish to get the old taste buds to salivating.
Read about God; listen to people who know Him well talk about Him; talk to the Lord yourself, but from your heart, not just in a stereotyped manner. Finally, ask God to make you hungry. Maybe you're not ravenous, but if you're hungry to be hungry for God, tell it to the Lord. If would surprise you how often He listens when you talk to him. Hunger pays big dividends. Let God make you that way and do your part in cooperating with Him.