I doubt there is anything my family looks forward to more than our trips to Chicago. Every year at Thanksgiving, give or take a few instances, you can find the McMillian Clan eagerly wandering the streets of Michigan, Grand, State, 87th, 96th, Stoney Island, Cottage Grove – basically all over Chicago. This year was no different. We hit all the favorite spots (Harold’s, Captain Curt’s Shazaam, Garrett’s) and scouted out some new ones. My sister Rachel and I had been eyeing this restaurant, Eggsperience, for a while and decided to give it a try. There’s such an elegant art to breakfasting, and we felt Eggsperience would really up our respective levels of class. So, on Black Friday, while manic masses stormed the gates of excessive consumerism, we were out at a late breakfast with our father.
Let me tell you, that was the best breakfast ever! Everything about our meal was perfect: the wait staff was courteous; the décor was cozy, the conversation was jovial, and the food was amazing. Midway through my Belgian waffle I had a semi-cheesy moment. Overcome with the loveliness of our eggsperience (you should have seen that one coming), I looked at my father and sister and said, “I’m glad we came hungry!” Rarely do I appreciate being hungry; but amidst such splendor, I was grateful that I had both room and appetite to appreciate my meal.
How often do we fight hunger pangs, and temper our appetite to the point that we don’t really need (nor desire) a full meal? With a culture built around indulgence and convenience, it’s not surprising that we rebel against all growling stomachs with empty calorie snacks (“Hungry? Eat a Snickers!”). However, walking around semi-full/semi-hungry isn’t beneficial. Without deep cravings, we don’t receive deep satisfaction. Hunger gives clarity to our longings; and when specific yearnings are met, there is definite gratification and the utter sweetness of delight.
That’s why when we come before the presence of the Lord we must come hungry. We can’t curtail our longings with “spiritual snacks.” There is so much surrounding us, waiting to take the edge off our desires and turn what’s necessary into an option. Everything promises pleasure, completion, and purpose. If we allow ourselves a few bites of religious tradition, a nibble of motivational speaking, and a moderate portion of indulgence, we will soon find the fullness of Christ unnecessary. We won’t find time in our schedules for it. We won’t have need in our relationships of it. We will reduce Christ to the God who tops off, not the God who fills.
God forbid we find ourselves in a place where we don’t jump at the chance for deeper knowledge of our Savior; that we respond to the pull of His Spirit with apathy, or sluggishness! We need to deeply feel every pang of longing, so that we can deeply feel each joy of attained desire. Our life depends upon an unwavering appetite and appreciation for the things of God! Let us continually pursue the abundance of a God who satisfied (and satisfies) hunger with “bread from Heaven” (Nehemiah 9:15, John 6:33).
THE BOTTOM LINE: Blessed are those who hunger and thirst for righteousness; they shall be filled (Matthew 5:6). Stay hungry.