15 December 2017

Satisfaction Guaranteed.

Have you ever been hungry? Not just a bit peckish or a little esurient. Have you ever been genuinely hungry? Do you know what it is to feel real pangs of hunger tying your tummy in knots? Chances are, you may not have. You may have skipped the odd meal now and again through unforeseen circumstances or even chosen to go without a meal for a good cause like a Tear Fund lunch.

Hunger and thirst are very real experiences. When you are hungry, your body has its own way of telling you about it, first through discomfort and then through pain, and the more you try to ignore it the worse the feeling becomes, until the desire for food becomes overwhelming. Hunger is something that doesn’t go away. The only way to deal with it is to eat. If you have ever been in that situation then you will appreciate just how good even the simplest morsel of food can taste. Some people think the first cup of tea in the morning tastes brilliant, better than any other of the day, but that is nothing compared with a piece of bread after hungering for several days. Fantastic!

Fortunately in this country most of us need never know real physical hunger because we live in an affluent society, but what about spiritual hunger? Is there a hunger inside us that is not being satisfied? As human beings, made in the image of God, what do we hunger for? Many of us are emotionally hungry, longing to be loved and accepted for who we are. Not for what we can do, give or provide. Not for our looks, wit or charm, but to experience love unconditionally. When we cannot find such love we try to kill the hunger pangs through any relationship that satisfies, no matter how briefly.

Others hunger for security, a place of safety where we can be ourselves, be at peace, free from conflict or confrontation. Not just for a day or a week or a year, but something permanent and lasting, something to bring stability, a true home and lasting purpose. In a world that is constantly changing; where you are expected to be as mobile as your phone and flexible as your credit card; where work is often as temporary as your hair colour – where can our security be found?

Do you hunger for significance or just for fame? In our celebrity obsessed culture do we ache inside for some form of recognition? Do we settle for any form of acknowledgement just to remind us we exist? Anything to feel needed and be more than a number on a payroll. If we’re honest we’ll admit we have all felt some of this hunger, otherwise we would not be human. We have been created hungry, emotionally hungry, longing to be in a deep, meaningful, satisfying relationship. Many of us find this within a marriage but others seek and are never satisfied.

Jesus, when speaking to a huge crowd of people who had followed Him into the countryside seeking enlightenment, said this: “Happy are those who hunger and thirst for righteousness for they shall be satisfied.” You can read what He had to say for yourself in the Bible in a book called Matthew, in chapter 5. What he meant by righteousness was, having a right relationship with God. Only a restored relationship with our creator God, who calls Himself our Father, can truly give us the acceptance, security and significance that we all seek, and Jesus said that the way to God could only be found in Him. Through His life, death and resurrection Jesus made the restoration of a relationship with God possible. Through forgiveness, submission, and following Jesus that hunger can be satiated and life transformed so that it takes on a whole other perspective and dimension. The author of the Psalms said, “Oh taste and see that the Lord is good” (Psalm 34:8). If you are hungry – look to Jesus. He is the bread of life!