Hungry years can actually save us from accumulating stuff, which, in turn, demand much time, expense and effort to maintain. More importantly, we can stop focusing on things and start cherishing relationships.
Hungry years also remind us of God’s faithful provision. One day, I chanced upon a Czech proverb that stuck in my mind: “The God who gives us teeth will also give us bread.”
God may cause us to hunger, but He will not allow us to die of hunger. Indeed, He had brought the Israelites to utterly depend on Him for their very survival.
God is not a sadist who dangles a bone before a chained dog, never letting the dog to get the bone. Rather, God responded to their hunger by giving them manna, day after unfailing day for forty years.
Hungry years are just as valuable as the satisfied years. In due time, God put an end to the Israelite’s wandering and brought them to the Promised Land, the land flowing with milk and honey.
If God wills, someday He will usher us into the “Promised Land” He has in store for us. There, we will no longer wrestle with tight budgets and gnawing need.
But until then, there are treasures to be gathered, lessons to be learned. Trusting in God’s matchless goodness, we embrace the hungry years as the necessary shadow for what promises to be magnificent portrait.
Photo by Kat Yukawa on Unsplash
The person who wants to “make an impact on the world” is not the one who just jumps in and charges headlong into the fray. Rather, God must first impact that person before he can make an impact for God.
Consider Moses. Raised in Pharaoh’s palace, he was educated in all the wisdom of the Egyptians and was powerful in speech and action. One day, he made the strategic blunder of killing an Egyptian. When Moses’ murder of the Egyptian leaked out, he fled to the desert and stayed there for forty years. He toiled as a shepherd of his father-in-law’s flocks.
When God appeared to Moses in the burning bush, gone was all of his bravado. God called him to bring the Israelites out of Egypt… and Moses stammered excuse after excuse. He even told God to appoint someone else. The Lord’s anger burned against Moses, which I suspect finally persuaded him to sign up for the job.
The rest, as they say, is history. Today, Moses’ name is revered all over the world.
The wilderness is God’s crucible where He purges all our self-sufficiencies and sin-tainted ambition. Those of us who dream of doing great things for God must first pass through this arduous phase.
Take heart. God chooses His heroes. He then takes great care in preparing them. There are no short cuts. Such are the men and women whom God is pleased to use.
Let us submit to Him as sturdy and sharpened arrows so that in the proper time, He brings us out of His quiver, directs us to His targets and unleashes us in power.
Had the first man not given up too soon, he would be rich beyond his wildest dreams.
A man was strolling through his land and found a nugget of gold on the ground. Excitedly, he grabbed a shovel and began digging around. He dug dozens of pits. He dug wide and he dug deep. But instead of more gold, he only uncovered more dirt.
Fatigued and disgusted, he sold his hole-ridden property to someone else.
The new owner took a closer look at one of the holes. Out of curiosity, he dug a few inches further down and discovered what turned out to be a rich vein of gold. Had the first man not given up too soon, he would be rich beyond his wildest dreams.
Too often we struggle with problems and pressures and, like that disgusted owner, we give up. But we may miss out the “gold” that comes with sticking it out.
I am not saying that there are no circumstances under which we quit. I am saying that we think carefully before we do. Don’t sacrifice what may be a good place right now in favor of the temporary relief of surrender.
If today you want to raise the white flag, don’t. Hang in there.
Persevere. Keep the faith. You’ll be glad you did.
Photo by Allef Vinicius on Unsplash