“Like newborn babies, crave pure spiritual milk, so that by it you may grow up in your salvation, now that you have tasted that the Lord is good.” 1 Peter 2:2-3
Hunger is a powerful thing. Once it kicks in, it rules everything else. I have a cousin who still likes to remind me of a time when I lost my temper with him when he was a teenager and we were vacationing in Florida. After hours of flying, clearing customs, driving to our accommodations and then encountering problems with how well our unit would suit the ten of us who were staying together, stomachs were growling and tempers were getting short. Being a seventeen year-old boy who liked to eat, my cousin was the most vocal about his complaints. He was getting a bit testy with his mother, and was digging in his heels about how important it was that supper be given first priority. His constant refrain of “I’m hungry” was getting to us all. But I was the one who burst first. In a moment of frustration, I snapped and spoke (roared) the words that my aunts and cousins still love to drop into random conversations now, eleven years later: “We’re ALL hungry!!” I guess the hunger was getting to me too.
The apostle Peter, in his first letter, says that our relationship to hearing and learning the word of God should be something like our relationship to food. When we go without it, we should notice it. We should feel it in the core of our being. (We probably shouldn’t lose our temper over it, but still…) As Christians, we are to be people who long to hear the word of God, the word of our salvation. We should find that our most primal need is to be right with God, to seek to please him, and so to know what it is that he has called us to in our daily lives.
For many (maybe most) of us, this seems a little beyond our experience. We may have an appetite for Scripture, but it isn’t so desperate as our appetite for food after five or six hours without it.
Like other parts of our lives, though, we can develop this appetite. We can surround ourselves with believers who do feed on the word and who show the benefits of it by the way their lives are oriented toward God. We can start to make Scripture a daily part of our lives, and find that in time we will depend on that time with the Lord more than we might have imagined possible. And we can come to Sunday worship with a desire to be fed a meal, to be led into Scripture in a special way, because this time we do it as a family gathered together, a family with a great deal of emptiness and brokenness but also a great deal of love provided by a caring Father who wants to feed us and make us strong.
We’ve all heard the sound of a baby crying for food, that desperate insatiable call to be fed. But we’ve also all seen the peace and satisfaction that follows a baby’s feeding. In our lives, do we imitate that baby when it comes to God’s word?