Sunday my husband preached on the healing of the paralytic man whose four friends got him to Jesus by making a hole in the roof. His focus was on dealing with adversity, but he also talked about the importance of desperation. If those four men hadn’t been desperate to get help for their friend, they wouldn’t have gone to such lengths to get him to Jesus, and he wouldn’t have been healed.
On the way to church, he had read to me notes from a sermon he had found online, talking about the importance of desperation. When people are desperate for God, that’s when He can do a great work. It made sense, but it also was a troubling thought, because I can’t say I feel desperate. So how does one go about becoming desperate?
Today being Ash Wednesday, it seemed like a good time to explore that question further. During lunch I surfed the web looking for any discussion of that idea. I didn’t find much using the word desperate, but I did find a good article on the need to be hungry for God. And it addressed the question I had, how to become hungry if you’re not already. (Not that I have no appetite, but it’s been weak lately.)
We cannot be hungry for God if we are being satisfied with other things. Because the church constantly “nibbles” on “junk food” from the world, we have lost our appetite for God! We never feel the pain of hunger for Him; we are starving for lack of His presence without even knowing it. In order to make room for Him in our lives, we must empty our hearts and lay down our own agendas. Before we can be filled we must be empty!
What junk food have I been nibbling on? I’m not sure. Literal “junk food” used to be what I used to try to find happiness, but I stopped that. Sometimes computer games, but I don’t spend all that much time on them. Blogging? I spend less time lately at worldmagblog, and while some of my posts here take some time to work on, I don’t think I spend an excessive amount of time on it.
Of course, “excessive” is a relative term. Too much time spent on a number of things that are good in and of themselves can keep me away from what is more important. My sins have always been more of “omission” than of “commission.” I know I tend to stay up too late doing things on the computer, and I justify it because I need some time to myself and for mental stimulation, and anyway I’m not sleepy (except when I have to get up in the morning).
So how do you get hungry? The article I mention above says to pray for hunger. Another page recommends being around people with desperate needs that can only be met by God. (That would go along with my church’s new vision statement about “unleashing relentless love to our broken world,” though I haven’t yet learned of a way to get directly involved.)
So I pray for hunger. But how soon should I expect an answer? Doesn’t it take hunger to want it enough to keep praying for it? But somehow I get the impression that it’s the kind of prayer that can’t be answered right away – the waiting and needing an answer is an essential aspect of the hunger that needs to develop. (Kind of like patience – the only way to develop it is to practice it in situations that require it.)
One thing I have to keep in mind is what the hunger is for. Sermons about “remembering your first love” too often focus on the emotional aspect and the experience of feeling close to God. But if my hunger is for an experience of God, my mind can too easily manufacture one that I will later doubt is genuine. My hunger has to be for righteousness, not just knowing truth but living it.
For now, one commitment I have made is to get to bed by 10 PM. So I don’t know if I’ll be posting here every night, depending on my schedule. And right now it’s 9:48, time to get ready for bed.