Jesus knows hunger. Deep, gnawing hunger – the kind that would send most of us speeding through the nearest drive-thru, rummaging through the fridge with shaky hands, sifting through the compost, even. Drastic, painful hunger.
My comfortable lifestyle (and lack of discipline, to be honest) does not grant me a familiarity with this kind of hunger. But there’s another type of hunger I know very well. A hunger for love, vocational fulfillment, the safety of my family, financial security. First world hunger, the kind that goes with privilege. It’s a hunger of deficit – the space between what is, and what we want.
The crucial difference between Jesus’ behavior in this passage and my own approach to hunger is this: Jesus allows his hunger to propel him INTO God, whereas mine frequently drives me away from God. Jesus’ loneliness and pain in this passage only serves to strengthen his resolve. Rather than becoming weak, fearful and lacking in conviction, the opposite is true. In his pain, Jesus becomes strong. In his hunger, Jesus’ connection to his Creator, his True Parent, solidifies.
My tendency during periods of hunger? Much fist-shaking, questioning, wondering “God, my God, where are you?” Desiring my freezer to be filled with God’s manna, in labeled Tupperware containers. Begging for more signs, more answers, more promises.
“God, I want more!” The response? “I know, my child.” “God, I want security, a future, a hope!” “I know, my child.” “God, I’m hungry!” “I know, my child.”
May we, this Lenten season, allow our own hungers to strengthen our resolve. May we choose deeper unity with the One who knows our pain and welcomes us with open arms.