None of this is to say that we don't get hungry, that our spirits don't come to crave something more. But the trouble is that for most of us, our spiritual hunger drives us to so-called spiritual things, rather than drawing us to God.
Take, for example, the Bible. We ought to read the Bible. We ought to read the Bible every day. When we feel an ache in our spirit, the Bible is an excellent place to turn to begin (note: only begin) to satisfy our hunger. But the question we need to ask ourselves is this: what are we looking for?
When many people, even many Christians, open their Bibles, they are hoping, at least in part, to find their story. They are hoping to find some encouragement for the journey they are on. They are hoping to discover some meaningful word or phrase or passage that applies to their current circumstances. They are hoping...for lack of a better term...that the Bible is going to 'speak' to them.
But here's the painful truth, and one we have tragically forgotten in our consumer-spirituality, prosperity gospel generation: the Bible is not your story.
The Bible is not the story of people, even the people of God. It's not the story of how one holds on in the face of heartache, how one praises God in the midst of a storm. It's not the story of getting back up after you fall down. It's not the story of holding out hope for a better tomorrow. It's not a story about loving your neighbor, about loving yourself, or even about loving your God.
No matter how much you look to the Bible for "strength for today" or "inspiration for a godly life" or whatever other so-called Christian buzzwords you want to put to it, that's not what the Bible is for. It's just not your story. It never was. And it's never going to be.
The Bible is God's story, plain and simple. It's the story not of the people of God, but of the God of the people. It's the story not of how one holds on in the face of heartache, but how God holds onto you. It's the story not of how one praises God in the midst of the storm, but how God comes walking on the water to get to you. It's the story of the God who helps the fallen to stand back up, the God who promises a better tomorrow. It's a story about the God who loves your neighbor, and the God who loves you.
That's the essential nature of it. It's a story about the way God loves, written and told so that you may one day know how deeply, how richly, how purely, how incredibly God loves you.
Not so that you would know how to love God. Not so that you would know how to please Him. Not so that you would know how to navigate this world of His. Not so that you would know...you fill in the blank. But purely so that you would know how God loves you.
When was the last time you read the Bible hoping to understand that? When was the last time you read the Bible looking for Him, instead of looking for you?
If you're looking for yourself in the Bible, you're not going to find you. But if you're looking for God, you'll find Him. He's right there, on every page. It's why the Bible is called a 'revelation.'
How sad indeed that we've made it no more than a handbook.
As you read through your Bible in the coming days, weeks, year, I encourage you to start reading it looking for God. Read it as though it is His story, not yours. Read it as though it's a revelation, not a handbook. Read it to discover the one mind-blowing, life-changing, radical, meaningful truth it was meant to convey: God. is. love. He is. And He loves you.