The body has basic needs. Food is one of them. There are signs that let us know when we are hungry, from mild pangs to gnawing pain. Lack of food can lead to shaking, weakness, and fainting. If not addressed, it will lead to death.
God knows our needs. He knows how to meet them, too. Jesus was aware of this. When Satan tempted Jesus to turn stones to bread, Satan was trying to use hunger to break Jesus’ devotion to God. But our Lord could not be shaken and responded by quoting a rather obscure Old Testament scripture. The passage would probably still be obscure today if Jesus’ response had not been recorded in the Gospels. “Man shall not live by bread alone, but by every word that proceeds out of the mouth of God.”
That verse from Deuteronomy was talking about God providing manna to the children of Israel. The Israelites had never asked for manna. They did not even know what it was. In fact, the word “manna” sounds like Hebrew for the question, “What is it?” Nevertheless, God chose to send manna, and manna was sufficient to sustain the Israelites in the wilderness. When Jesus quoted the passage, He was confessing that, just as God knew and met the needs of the Israelites, God knew His needs and would provide for Him.
The 15th century Latin hymn O Love, How Deep traces the life of Christ, including the hardships that He suffered for us. Ponder these words from the second stanza.
For us baptized, for us he bore
his holy fast and hungered sore,
for us temptation sharp he knew;
for us the tempter overthrew.
What is our hunger on our pilgrim journey, and how will it be met? Do we think that we can meet our own needs, or do we yearn for God’s provision? Christ fasted in preparation to give us hope and salvation. What will we do in preparation to receive it?
Follow the Path!
[Use with Challenge of Hunger, day 41 of A Labyrinth Pilgrimage]