Friday, December 16, 2011

I hope you're hungry

It is always delightfully overwhelming to arrive back on familiar soil after a long time and walk into a Walmart or a Kroger or, in my case, the base commissary. I always end up walking up and down the aisles with my jaw half open, drool running down my lip, in a stunned kind of awe. Suddenly everything I've craved and dreamed of and longed for for the past year is right at my fingertips. And the strange thing is that I find I'm not really hungry after all. I don't want to buy any of it or eat any of it, I just want to know that it's there, that if I suddenly get a hankering for some cinnamon toaster strudel or cookie dough ice cream it's just a short grocery trip away.

That's the funny thing about coming back to a first world country. With pretty much everything I need or could ever possibly want right at my fingertips, I suddenly find that I'm not hungry anymore. I'm not hungry anymore, and I miss it.

There is a verse in Deuteronomy that speaks about this, where the Israelites are warned that when they are no longer in the desert, they will become fat and happy and forget God and all the things He did for them when they were wandering in the desert.

"Beware that you do not forget the Lord ... lest—when you have eaten and are full, and have built beautiful houses and dwell in them; ... and all that you have is multiplied; when your heart is lifted up, and you forget the Lord your God who brought you out of the land of Egypt ... who led you through that great and terrible wilderness ... who brought water for you out of the flinty rock; who fed you in the wilderness with manna ... that He might humble you and that He might test you, to do you good in the end." ~ Deuteronomy 8:11-17

Lest you forget God...isn't that a scary thought?

And so while I'm so happy to be here in the loveliness and comfort of family and familiarity and abundance, I find that my soul misses the desert. It misses that place of dependence on God.

Oh don't get me wrong, I'm definitely taking advantage of all the lebkuchen lattes and all-things-American. But there is a lot of pressure that comes with life in South Africa. And while I don't miss the stress at all, I do kind of miss the pressure. I miss the pressure that forces my dependance on God, pressure that makes me hungry to hear from Him, desperate to be close to Him.

And that is the scary thing for those of us living in the western world. That for all our comfort and speed and our on-demand society, with a thousand things to numb our senses or distract our attention, we fail to feel our hunger for God. We cease to long for Him, to know what it is to really, truly need Him.

So wherever you are this Christmas, dear reader, whether it's on holiday somewhere grand or in a difficult and trying place physically or spiritually, I hope you're hungry. I pray that you are desperately, overwhelmingly hungry for the living God and for His Word to feed your soul every single day. 

I hope you're hungry.

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