deuteronomy 8:3 & psalm 51:17
3 He put you through hard times. He made you go hungry. Then he fed you with manna, something neither you nor your parents knew anything about, so you would learn that men and women don’t live by bread only; we live by every word that comes from God’s mouth. Deut 8:3
he put you through hard times. my god puts me through hard times? i have a feeling this is one of the hardest things to grasp as a christian. why would the lord, who does all things for good, allow bad? i know that it's not because he likes to see his children suffer or because he enjoys the bad. i know that it's not because it's his preferred way of teaching. but sometimes, it's his only way of teaching. sometimes we need to go hungry, we need to be starved.
hunger is a good thing. it signals when we need to feed ourselves again. it's necessary to ensure that we get the nourishment we need to live out our daily lives. i have never 'starved' for food. and i cannot imagine the desperation that overtakes your life when food is scarce, or difficult to find, or you are unable to pay for it. but i have been in starved spiritually. three years ago i was in the most lenten place i've ever encountered. it was a desert. i was deeply lost in a wilderness and all the things i normally used to feed myself - my parents, my friends, school, work - were stripped away from me. it was a desert. it was barren. and it was HARD. i felt that i was being brought to the edge of myself. i had been finding my identity in the things i done - my accomplishments in education and work, my fun friends who wanted to be friends with me, my family who was so proud of what i'd completed in a short time. but, when i was stripped bare - i also was forced to depend only on the SOURCE of all good things. how can this be good, i asked?
and so like the israelites - i learned that i didn't live on bread alone - that who i was, was not defined by my accomplishments, my job, my education, my friends or even my family. who i was, who i am, is fully and wholly defined by my status as daughter of the king. that my 'good' works were nothing, that i depended solely on the grace of my abba-father. who, true to his word, stooped down and listened to my prayers, who bound me up and carried me in those deepest of dark moments, who sent helpers to love me at my most unlovable, who was working all of this for good.
i don't doubt his goodness in the midst of that desert. and while it was a hard road and a time of complete bewilderment - i know that going hungry was the only way.
thank you jesus for your rescue. thank you for listening to my prayers, for binding me up in your love and for showing me your ultimate goodness. lord, if the only way is for hunger, then make me hungry. teach me to depend on you alone. help me to trust in your way. remind me to turn to you again and again. amen.