What God-Hungry People Need

coffee25.jpgI will always be grateful to Gordon MacDonald.  

It was a number of years ago.  We were living in Florence, Alabama, at the time and working with a church.  It was tough work.  I recall feeling much pressure.  There was so much to do and so many people with many, many needs.   For a while, I dealt with this pressure by working harder.  When I was completely overwhelmed, I could just get up earlier, stay up later, or both.

Finally, at some point, I came across a book by Gordon MacDonald.  The book was entitled Ordering Your Private World.  Slowly, I began to see how much I had neglected my own "private world" or my inner life before God.  In particular, I was not really aware of how emotionally empty I would become at times and its impact upon my life.  God was gracious and kind and continued to work in wonderful ways through some tough times.  Yet, if I could live that period of life over again, I think (given what I know now) that I would be much more attentive to what was happening inside of me.

In the most recent issue of Leadership Journal, Gordan MacDonald, in an article entitled "Ministry’s Sweet Spot," writes about a mentoring group he and his wife were leading.  He speaks of the importance of hearing one another’s stories.  He writes:

After listening to stories for many years, I can tell you this: almost without exception, every person’s story is marked with pockets of deep, deep sadness and tragedy.  Lots of stuff that never gets surfaced in the course of normal church life.  (Spring 2008, p. 94)

When I read these lines in the article, I paused and then read them again.  These words are very, very true.  Within us all, there are places of sadness.  For some that sadness is associated with a deep disappointment of some kind.  Others have experienced a significant moment of humiliation or shame.  Others have experienced a tragedy, sometimes due to the behavior of others.

The question that I want to keep before me is: "What am I doing with this sadness?"  Far too many people "act out" in various ways in order to somehow lessen or mask the pain.  Others may act out in ways that result in a trail that is littered with hurt feelings, broken friendships, and burned bridges.  

What do God-hungry people do?  (This is the question I want to always be wrestling with.)  God-hungry people know that what we need more than anything is God himself.  Carlo Carretto expressed it this way in The God Who Comes:

The God-who-is has always been searching for me.  By his choice, his relationship with me is presence, as a call, as a guide; he is not satisfied with speaking to me, or showing things to me, or asking things of me.  He does much more.

He is Life, and he knows his creature can do nothing without him; he knows his child would die of hunger without bread.

But our bread is God himself, and God gives himself to us as food.

Only eternal life can feed one who is destined for eternal life. 

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5 thoughts on “What God-Hungry People Need

  1. I deeply believe in that God shaped place within us that longs to be filled with the perfect love of God. It will never be filled with anything less. It is obviously more than knowledge of God and the things of God. It has to do with His sharing of Himself within our hopes, purpose and our whole experience of life from birth to life eternal. He is our all in all and everything else is just stuff. Your thougths have encouraged that special place within me that longs to bring joy to God.

  2. Jim, You described what most of us do when we’re young.  Because we’re young we can just get up earlier or stay up later to get things done – we have the physical stamina and energy to do that.  Perhaps that’s one reason God allows our bodies to age as they do – so that, we finally have to realize we can’t do it all and must learn to rely on Him.  As well, problems that we simply cannot solve come our way, and, again we must rely on Him.  The only constant I’ve found in my life is His presence – but that’s quite enough! 

  3. Great question! Part of what I hope to do as I embark on writing my next book is to begin to deal with the question that comes before your wonderful question, and this is… "What am I so sad about?" Because I agree with you: there are hidden sadnesses and they drive us in many ways we don’t recognize. This seems, then, like the place to start.

  4. Yes. So very true. How we deal with these hurts is key. A tough one. And some seem so insensitive to all this. I’ve had my fill of some of fundamentalism. It takes only a few to make it harder for everyone.
    Tomorrow I do a simple post on L.L.’s book, the first chapter. A great read!