Jesus can’t ignore hunger!

runningIS09905PE-300x266“It’s not in the capacity of Jesus to walk by someone who’s hungry.”

I recently heard this statement at a conference I attended – and if my heart was a guitar it felt as if Jesus just strummed it. Can you think of any instance in the Bible where Jesus ignored hunger? Remember the Gentile woman who told Jesus that even dogs get crumbs from the master’s table – in His compassion He couldn’t ignore her: “Woman, your faith is great! Let what you desire be done for you.” (Matthew 15:28) And her daughter was healed. Jesus the Healer responded to her hunger.

Are you hungry? I know I am – this last month I’ve felt such a hunger to see God’s power in my prayers, to run after God no matter what to see answers to my prayers, to unite with His purposes in my life and the life of my family. Maybe it’s because I’ve battled a victim mentality, and one of the lies I’ve struggled with is that I have no power, no voice. But I think every God-pursuer wants to have power prayers.

When my prayers don’t get answered right away, I can easily get pulled into powerless, deceptive thinking – “Where are you Lord? What am I doing wrong?” I inadvertently focus on my weakness instead of God’s strength and goodness. But I’m learning to trust that if God allows the hunger to be there, He intends to satisfy it – in His way!

Which takes me back to the beginning of my spiritual walk, when God dramatically responded to my hunger. I did a “Lord, just hit me over the head” prayer. I had a deep desire for another child, and I felt the Lord had put it there, but I had been struggling with fertility issues for two years. Finally one day I cried out “Lord, if there’s anything else I should be doing, just hit me over the head with it.” Two days later I bumped into an acquaintance at a soccer game, a woman I rarely see – also named Joanne, also in her forties, and also struggling with fertility issues – who excitedly came up to me to announce that she was finally pregnant, and it happened when she visited her homeopathic doctor to be  treated for menopausal symptoms! The light bulb went on in my mind – same name, same age, same issue – I got the name of her doctor, got an appointment, and within a few weeks found out I was pregnant with my son Logan. I felt the Lord had hit me over the head with obvious signs of His leading. Jesus came as my Healer and Co-creator.

I’m in hot pursuit of God right now. What does that mean to me? It means I ignore the voice that tells me I’m too old for this, or it’s too much work, or it’s inconvenient, or it’s out of my comfort zone. I’m convinced that the Lord loves it when our hunger drives us out of our comfort zone … so I went to a Holy Spirit conference.

Have you ever been through a “prayer” tunnel? It’s set up in the same way we used to end my kids’ soccer games – parents forming a human tunnel for our little athletes to run through. In this case, gifted prayer warriors form a human tunnel, and as you pass through they lay hands on you and pray, speaking Holy Spirit-inspired words to you.

“More fire!” several people declared as I passed beneath their outstretched arms.

Since then, my hunger hasn’t diminished, it’s been magnified! Every morning I get up with the words of one song running in a loop in my head: “Set a fire down in my soul that I can’t contain and I can’t control. I want more of you God. I want more, I want more, I want more…” (Will Reagan and United Pursuit) The desire for more Holy Spirit fire has become a catalyst to wanting even more of God’s heart. Every morning I look forward to getting in my car to drive somewhere so I can listen to cds with personal testimonies of people who have experienced the hunger and have pursued God no matter what.

It’s bittersweet – I’m living with the hunger at the same time as the Lord is satisfying it and giving me MORE hunger!

One cd moment stands out in particular – it came as a keynote speaker asked the Lord to release a generation of runners who would never burn out, a generation of Davids pursuing God’s heart – whose finish line is the heart of God.

“Release running shoes, new running shoes. Put fire on people’s feet!” he declared to the crowd.

And then I remembered what the Lord told me last month (before the conference): “It’s time for new running shoes!”

Living with hunger is worth it. It’s worth it when I have moments like this – God speaking directly to my hunger, telling me He’s giving me new running shoes to go after His heart for me and my family.

“Don’t you realize that everyone who runs in a race runs to win, but only one runner gets the prize? Run like them, so that you can win.” (1 Corinthians 9:24)

God doesn’t want to be a spiritual gumball machine – prayers in, answers out. He wants relationship, and He wants me to discover new dimensions of who He can be for me as I run after His heart – Healer, Friend, Father, Protector, Provider – and more. He wants to help me reach the finish line, fulfill my mission, win the race. My hunger means I’ll never be satisfied with less of Him, and I think that’s exactly the way He likes it!

“Lord, thank you for my hunger! Thank you for giving me spiritual running shoes to pursue Your heart all the way to the finish line. I trust that you have an infinite number of ways to feed me and help me stay connected to Your purposes and plans. In the name of Jesus, Amen.”