The following article was partly taken from an interview I did in 2001. Essentially, the article, written in 2016, is about the need for more of God, a spiritual hunger in other words. It forms part of my introduction of the church series which begins with a need for more of God (spiritual hunger), reflecting the need in church members and also for anybody who feels this need in the wider community. Here’s the article.
By Peter Veugelaers
In 2001, I interviewed New Zealand evangelist Tim Findlay when Mr. Findlay was organizing revival conferences in New Zealand with Tommy Tenny as the keynote speaker.
“[Tommy Tenny] loves it here [in New Zealand],” Mr Findlay said. “He believes there is a real hunger for God like he’s seen in not many other places in the world.”
“How does he see that?” I asked.
“You almost feel people are like sponges, just soaking in what you have to say. There’s a hunger for more of God, and that’s also been reflected in the response to this conference. I think people [in this nation] are hungry for God. They want more.”
Mr. Findlay said that they tried to set up an environment for people to encounter God in a different way. “You get 800 people who are just totally hungry for God it’s going to create a certain dynamic in the auditorium. [We were] hoping just to add what’s already been done by ministers and other churches and what’s going to continually be done by those ministers and churches. We are only adding to what’s already been done. This is not seeking to be the whole answer, but certainly we want to get keys, we want to help, and pick up some of the basics.”
Mr. Findlay explained that some of the basics would be speaking on things that put out the fire of our love relationship with God; how to live a life of repentance on an ongoing way; deepening personal devotion to God; walking in the Spirit day-by-day; invoking God’s presence, and hearing and obeying the voice of God.
More of God spills into outreach, Mr. Findlay said. “One of the best ways of being motivated to share your faith has been just on fire for God. Just in love, head over heels in love with Jesus. When you are in love with Jesus with very little motivation and very little strategizing, you find yourself spilling over into people’s lives and saying, hey, taste and see the God of the Bible is indeed good because he was good to you, because you have encountered him and it gives you a message to share. In love and in relationship with Jesus, you have your first love, and Jesus is the most wonderful thing that you have ever encountered. Your evangelism is natural, it just takes off. As an evangelist, I could seek to motivate and train people for evangelism, but unless they are on fire and in love with Jesus that is very hard to do. They don’t have a message to share.”
It appears that Christians can be spiritually hungry, even when they know God is real.
Spiritual hunger is hardly ever talked about, but there are passages in the Bible that point to spiritual hunger, such as this one:
As a deer gets thirsty for streams of water, I am truly thirsty for you, my God. In my heart I am thirsty for you, the living God. When will I see your face? (Psalm 42:1-2, Contemporary English Version)
When spiritual hunger isn’t filled, does that mean the end of a relationship with God? If the journey of spiritual hunger turns up with nothing, what should you think?
We cannot force God to fill us with spiritual riches as we want. But God may have prepared the day for our spiritual release.
Because someone didn’t experience God, or have spiritual needs relieved by God, what might the attitude be?
We can keep faithful to God. That is the kind of grind that makes following Jesus real. It’s a real challenge, but none less important than an experience with God to keep you going. It’s about living the gospel.
If we don’t experience God, we can still be sure that God is faithful and can help us in times of need. In that way, though we may not experience God, we know of his presence in our lives, a God who is interested in what we are doing and how we are living.
King David prayed,
Why am I discouraged? Why am I restless? I trust you! And I will praise you again because you help me, and you are my God.” (Psalm 42:11, Contemporary English Version)
[Published 2016, Faces Magazine — Canterbury/Westland Baptist Association]