‘As the deer longs for streams of water, so I long for you, O God.’ – Psalm 42:1
Just this morning, I was having a conversation with a friend about the plight of Sheffield Wednesday football team. One minute up, and the next, down. Triumphant one week, beaten into submission the next. Its a source of suffering for the faithful. The Apostle Paul, I’m convinced was a Wednesday fan – ‘suffering produces perseverance’.
I watch from a distance really, but all the same, I cant help being caught up in conversation and discussion about the Owls.
Our conversation, went from Sheffield Wednesday to spiritual hunger. Consider this…
In the natural, young football players are hungry. They are hungry to be noticed, hungry to be picked, hungry to win, hungry to be better at their game, hungry to be bought by a big club. But older players, have a tendency to enjoy the privileges of wages, comfort and playing week in week out without competition for their place in the team. Its a generalisation, I know, but you cant win promotion into another league without hunger from the team to win and achieve.
God said to the people of Israel, ‘When you have eaten your fill, be sure to praise the LORD your God for the good land He has given you. But that is the time to be careful! Beware that in your plenty you do not forget the Lord your God and disobey His commands, regulations and decrees that I am giving you today.’ (Deuteronomy 8:10-11) Its easy to slip into apathy when everything is going well. But in the same way we hunger for achievement in football, we have to hunger for the deeper things of God and try to avoid the peril of settling for our tidy theology, doctrine or historical testimony.
Do we hunger for God when we are in a good place and have plenty? Or do we forget Him? Do we only cry out to Him when things are wrong or difficult?
Do you remember the Rocky films? I love them, they are deeply spiritual. Rocky, a young rookie, brawling in amateur boxing matches, gets his big shot when Apollo Creed challenges him to a match. Rocky hungry for the challenge goes the 15 rounds with Apollo Creed.
Rocky’s fame at going the distance with Apollo Creed, produces wealth, wealth produces consumerism, consumerism: pride, pride: apathy. Rocky becomes apathetic and loses his hunger for more…. And by Rocky 3, Apollo his now good friend has to remind him of the hunger he once had… The soundtrack boasts songs like ‘Burning Heart’ and ‘Hearts on Fire’ to add to the journey we ‘ve been travelling with Rocky…
Like Sheffield Wednesday must hunger for wins and promotion, hunger for us followers of Jesus must always remain in our hearts. I’d like to meet the person who has truly searched out the depths of God’s heart and ‘know it all’ about God. Because no-one (except Jesus) has truly searched out the height, depth, width and breadth of God’s mercy and love. No one has ever found the end of God’s heart.
And, if we have never found the end of God’s heart, then we must continue to hunger for more of Him. We must continue to seek after Him so that we may all come to the fullness of God.
‘In the burning heart
Just about to burst
There’s a quest for answers
An unquenchable thirst
In the darkest night
Rising like a spire
In the burning heart
The unmistakable fire ….
In the warrior’s code
There’s no surrender
Though his body says stop
His spirit cries, never
Deep in our soul
A quiet ember…. ‘
(Burning Heart – Survivor*)
What will our soundtrack be? Hunger or apathy? A Burning heart or a dampened fire?
There is still more in the heart of God… Go for it. Only you is holding you back…
Up the Owls!
*Burning Heart lyrics © Sony/ATV Music Publishing LLC, The Bicycle Music Company