It’s been a little over a week since Thanksgiving, so I want to ask you a question: Have you eaten anything since then?
Really? Me, too.
But wait, didn’t many of us push back from our Thanksgiving tables saying, or at least thinking, “I never, ever, want to eat again”?
When our stomachs were stretched like overfilled balloons, wasn’t the idea of food downright repulsive?
So much of the world goes hungry every day and we should certainly be very, very thankful we have food to eat. But we sure can make ourselves miserable with this particular blessing.
I usually develop aversions to things that make me feel rotten — like surgery, roller coasters, high heels, rap music, and math. But not so with food. No, I keep going back for more because, doggone it, I just keep getting hungry.
If a genie ever granted me three wishes, I’d first ask for a thousand more wishes (duh). Then after asking for a bunch of nobler things, I’d request a digestive system that would allow me to eat what I like, as much as I like, without getting fat or sick.
But since that’s not going to happen, I better learn how to wisely deal with my food cravings, as well as every other hunger I experience in this life.
Like a perpetually ravenous teenage boy standing in front of an open fridge, many of us are always looking around for something to satisfy the gnawing emptiness we feel.
We’re not always sure what we want, but we know we want … we want … we want.
When the children of Israel were enslaved in Egypt, they were hungry for freedom, so God set them free. Then, as He was leading them to the Promised Land, they wanted and needed food and water, so He took care of that in some awesomely miraculous ways.
But then they got tired of God’s supernatural cooking and craved meat. So intensely, in fact, the Bible says the men stood outside their tents crying and saying, “Give us meat that we may eat.” (Well, at least it rhymed.)
Let’s pause and imagine the ridiculousness of that scene. My husband’s quite a carnivore, but the day he weeps for meat will be the day I call a mental health hotline.
God heard all their incessant whining and said He would send the Hebrews meat, all right – so much meat it would come out of their noses. No kidding, it’s in there (see Numbers 11:20).
The psalmist wrote about this episode in Psalm 106:15 and I especially like the King James rendering: “(God) gave them their request; but sent leanness into their soul.”
What’s “leanness of soul”? Maybe the spiritual malnutrition that occurs when we stuff ourselves with the things of this world trying to satisfy the hunger only God can satisfy.
And God asks us, “Why do you spend money for what is not bread, and your wages for what does not satisfy? Listen carefully to Me, and eat what is good, and delight yourself in abundance.” (Isaiah 55:2)
And He offers us something better: “O taste and see that the Lord is good ….”(Psalm 34:8)
And He promises us satisfaction: “You open Your hand and satisfy the desire of every living thing.” (Psalm 145:16)
I believe there is a hunger that runs deeper than all others that, when satisfied, frees us from the tyranny of unquenchable, lesser hungers, and that is the desire to be rightly, intimately related to our Creator.
God longs for us to realize that and stands ready to fill us with Himself.
“Jesus said to them, ‘I am the bread of life; he who comes to Me will not hunger, and he who believes in Me will never thirst.’”
Mary Ann Crum (maryanncrum.com) lives in Abbeville and is the author of two books, “A Giggle Goes a Long Way” and “Live.Learn.Laugh!” She can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.