when God lets us hunger

Image free from pixabayI’ve been struck by these verses this week:

Remember the long way that the Lord your God has led you these forty years in the wilderness, in order to humble you, testing you to know what was in your heart, whether or not you would keep his commandments. He humbled you by letting you hunger, then by feeding you with manna, with which neither you nor your ancestors were acquainted, in order to make you understand that one does not live by bread alone, but by every word that comes from the mouth of the Lord.

Deuteronomy 8:2-3 (NIV)

God speaks in many ways; we cannot force God’s voice into a template of our choosing.  There are times when God lets us hunger. The NIV translates this as ‘he humbled you, causing you to hunger’.

He caused them to hunger.

As so often is the case, it is hard to explain why one phrase can hit so hard; we all are dealing with different things in our spiritual lives and my journey is certainly not the same as yours.

But something in that phrase made me aware of my own ‘hunger’ of late.  Some yearning I cannot place, a sense of need that chews away at me. There is no easy solution, and no cliche will fill it.  ‘God will fill it!’ you may pipe up, trying to be ultra-helpful.

Hmmm… I don’t find such a pat answer helpful, however well-intended – and even true – it may be. But that idea of God letting us hunger somehow strikes a chord with me today. (Sometimes the ‘pat answer’ may be the right one, but for whatever reason we need to take the ‘long way round’, as Israel did in those 40 years.)

Image free from pixabay

What am I hungry for, and how is it expressing itself?  And when we hunger, do we try and satisfy that hunger with wrong things?  And even if they are not bad things in themselves, are they not what we actually need? And does God use our fumbling attempts at satisfying our own hunger – and failing to do so – as a way of drawing us closer, even if it doesn’t feel like it at the time?

I can only hope I learn the right things from my ‘hunger‘, instead of wasting away longing for things that don’t satisfy and are flimsy in comparison to what I am offered by God’s gracious hand.

Lord, help me recognise manna when I see it.



Lucy’s new book, Undivided Heart, is out now! Read more about it by clicking here.

By Lucy Hannah

Lucy is a mixed media artist with a particular interest in acrylics and feltmaking. She is also an experienced writer and editor.


  1. Hi Lucy, I too have recognised a hunger lately, and recognise the danger posed by trying to satisfy it with the wrong food. I’ve just transferred my Gospel Around Us blog to WordPress, and the Dec 1 post will refer to this. Brian


  2. I love this and it has been my experience also. I was acutely aware of my hunger and find myself trying to fill it with food amongst other things. I tried to fill it with lots of things.

    Maybe I still am trying to fill it with other things some of the time. But having gone through a major crisis of faith as a result of the disappointment of not getting what I wanted I found myself seeking God who is much more than I had ever done before. The side-effects of this was actually the hunger started filling with God. I just wish I kept on turning to God to fill me but I still turn to other things sometimes. When will I ever learn?


    1. My life is a whole process of learning and re-learning… sometimes I have to go round the roundabout a number of times before I take the right exit, even when I know which it is!


      1. Like the idea of going round the roundabout.
        But it’s not always as simple as knowing the right exit. At least, in my mind (and I am always being accused of over complicating things) it seems like we need to explore more fully what we mean by knowing.
        Sometimes we have an instinct for something that is contrary to what common sense tells us.
        Sometimes we can go round and round, is it this one? is it that one? yet when we finally leave the roundabout something within us says yes, I knew it all along. But somehow, at the time, we didn’t know that we knew it!

        Liked by 1 person

        1. PS Perhaps this not knowing what we know is another way of phrasing that business of hungering in order to know what is in our heart? After all, I can’t see that God needs us to prove to him what is in our heart – isn’t it a matter of revealing it to a disconnected part of ourselves?.

          Liked by 1 person

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