Often, we are told as Christians to hunger after God, but do you know the opposite is true as well?
God hungers for us.
Even more amazingly, God hungers for sinners. He has an immense love for those who have drifted away from Him. God longs to woo them back into His loving arms, cleansing them of their sins. This is supported by Romans 2:4, which tells us that God’s kindness leads us to repentance.
In Luke 15, Jesus tells us of the parable of the prodigal son. It’s a story of a young man who asked his father for his inheritance. Then he set off with his wealth to a distant country where he squandered all his money in wild living. Now he had no money and to make things worse, the country was stricken by famine. Penniless and hungry, the young man took on a job feeding pigs. He longed to fill his stomach with the pods that the pigs were eating, but no one gave him anything. When he came to his senses, he said, ‘How many of my father’s hired servants have food to spare, and here I am starving to death! I will set out and go back to my father and say to him: Father, I have sinned against heaven and against you. I am no longer worthy to be called your son; make me like one of your hired servants.’ So he got up and went to his father.
The young man expected his father to be angry at him, so he was prepared to grovel.
What he didn’t expect was his father was sitting by the window, looking out for his son’s return. The father hungered for his son’s return. Instead of scolding his son, when he saw his son coming back, he threw his arms around him and kissed him.
The son said to him, ‘Father, I have sinned against heaven and against you. I am no longer worthy to be called your son.’
But the father said to his servants, ‘Quick! Bring the best robe and put it on him. Put a ring on his finger and sandals on his feet. Bring the fattened calf and kill it. Let’s have a feast and celebrate. For this son of mine was dead and is alive again; he was lost and is found.’ So they began to celebrate.
The son expected punishment, what he got instead was a party. The father’s love and mercy was an astounding surprise, far greater than anything the son could ever hope for or imagine.
That’s how much God loves us.
We’re all sinners, we all make mistakes. Maybe you feel you’ve messed up too much in life so you’ll never be able to do great things for God. What you have to realize is that God hungers for sinners just like you, and He is longing to forgive you, as long as you come running back into his open arms.
What’s key is that you have a humble and repentant heart. In Luke 1:53, it says “He has filled the hungry with good things but has sent the rich away empty.”
Likewise, in Mark 2, we read about how Jesus was spending intimate fellowship time, eating with tax collectors and other sinners. When he was criticized by the religious leaders for befriending sinners, he replied, “It is not the healthy who need a doctor, but the sick. I have not come to call the righteous, but sinners.”
So today, if you fall into sin, instead of being burdened by guilt and avoiding God, know that God loves you just as you are. Run into his forgiving arms. He hungers for you.