“Blessed are you who hunger now,
for you will be satisfied.”
We are currently in the season of the beatitudes. It seems that pastors, speakers, writers, and church leaders of all kinds and denominations have received the divine memo that states, “Thou shalt teach from the Sermon on the Mount.” In faithfulness to this command, our church is in the midst of a sermon series called, “#Blessed.” And this past week, our pastor spoke on the hunger that Luke describes in Chapter 6 as a blessing.
He talked about just how much our current culture differs from that of the people to whom Jesus was speaking on that day. Specifically, the crowd was full of marginalized, poor, hungry, and sick people. In fact, up to 90% of that population would face the threat of starvation on a regular basis. In contrast, most of us do not allow ourselves to feel hunger even momentarily. We fill our stomachs the moment a craving or twinge of hunger hits us—if not before. Am I right? And why do we do this? I would argue that it’s largely because we can. Most of the time, we have the ability to instantly satisfy our basic material desires, and then some. And as we learned on Sunday, physical gratification can actually lead to a lack of satisfaction and a “need” or “craving” for even more physical gratification.
It is through this vicious cycle that our own bodies can become the instrument, source, and vessel for many sins. Well, no one wants that, so of course I took seriously the closing challenge that we sit with our cravings and let them pass. But whenever I did refuse to give in to a craving, I found myself waiting anxiously for God to swoop in and satisfy that craving Himself—and feeling a sense of righteous indignation when He did not. But do you know what I realized? Those people on the mount, they didn’t leave that day with their stomachs full. And they continued to face abject poverty and material hunger, probably for the remainder of their days on earth. So why, then, would I expect God to satisfy my every desire of the flesh?
Oh, He does satisfy, don’t get me wrong. But perhaps He does so by showing us that the things we are craving aren’t the things that we’re meant to be craving. Perhaps He shows us that life will not come to a screaming halt just because we sense the emptiness of an unmet need or desire. Perhaps we realize that He ultimately is enough. Perhaps at those times when we fail, and give in to those cravings, we realize that they don’t bring satisfaction after all. Perhaps we realize that our true hunger is one that this world can’t satisfy.
And when I reflect on any one of these truths, I truly do feel #blessed. How about you?