Approximately two years ago, together with several women in my home church, I participated in the One in a million Bible study, written by Priscilla Shirer.
In the lesson, “This is only a test,” I read the following statements: “Yahweh allowed the Hebrews to experience inner emptiness that they did not have the ability to fill. He wanted them to experience the abundant supply that only God’s pantry can offer. Passing the test meant embracing the hunger (italics added) and counting on the Lord to fill it.” She was speaking of the test the children of Israel faced in the Wilderness of Sin (Exodus 16: 1-3).
“Embracing the hunger” … I found myself reflecting on this phrase and wondered what unmet need hunger can represent – loneliness, disappointment, rejection, pain? And, what would embracing each form of hunger mean?
- Not running from loneliness and counting on the Lord to be the Perfect Companion?
- Not denying disappointment and counting on God to perfect that which concerns us, to send what is best for us to us in His time?
- Not denying that we have been rejected but facing the rejection and counting on God to both heal the wound inflicted and never abandon us?
- Not trying to self-soothe or medicate our pain and counting on the God of all comfort to comfort us, to be the Balm in Gilead?
I believe “embracing the hunger” can have a two-fold meaning: first, embracing whatever it is that challenges us, reveals our inadequacies or limitations, introduces us to unknown parts of ourselves; second, counting on God to be all we need in every given moment, allowing Him to fill our hunger as He sees fit, and knowing that when He does so, we will be satisfied. If the story of Jesus feeding approximately 5,000 men with five barley loaves and two small fish,* assures us of anything, it is that when He fills our hunger, He does so in a manner that leaves an overflow that can bless the lives of others.
Like the woman at the well I was seeking
For things that could not satisfy;
But then I heard my Savior speaking:
“Draw from My well that never shall run dry”.
Fill my cup Lord, I lift it up, Lord!
Come and quench this thirsting of my soul;
Bread of heaven, Feed me till I want no more–
Fill my cup, fill it up and make me whole!**
*John 6:1-13 (New King James Version)
**Lyrics are from the hymn “Fill my cup, Lord” by Richard Blanchard (1925-2004)