Tuesday, May 28, 2013

Holy Hunger

a tiny desert flower blooming in the sand in front of my retreat house

When I search around the various social media on the web nowadays, I am amazed at how often I see postings, tweets, blogs, videos - all under the category "spirituality." Many people today are on a spiritual quest of some sort or another.

As I've thought about my own spiritual journey out here in the desert, I sometimes wonder if I have it all backwards.  I think that I am seeking God, but it's probably the other way around. The spiritual quest is really more about God searching for me.

I have been reading a just-pubished and tenderly poignant book by the author and poet, Christian Wiman, titled: "My Bright Abyss" (recently reviewed in the New York Times and featured on Krista Tippett's radio broadcast, "On Being.")

In his book, Mr. Wiman tells of how he had grown up as a believing Christian, but had long ago abandoned his faith. Then, he was diagnosed with cancer,  and something woke up in him. He realized that, even though he had abandoned God, God had never let him go.

He puts it this way:

It seemed as if I happened upon some rare flower deep in the desert,  and even though I was just discovering it, it had been blooming impossibly year after parched year in me, surviving all the seasons of my unbelief."

And now, Christian Wiman is on a spiritual quest - a quest that is tender,  and poignant,  and painful:

Lord, I can only approach you by means of my consciousness, but consciousness can only approach you as an object, which you are not.
I have no hope of experiencing you as I experience the world - direct, immediately - yet I want nothing more.
Indeed so great is my hunger for you - or is this the evidence of your hunger for me?

Yes many people are hungry for God nowadays, many are on a spiritual quest. But, I have come to believe that the spiritual quest is not so much about what we are doing, but about what God is doing - God deeply desiring us, God relentlessly seeking out the human soul.  

Our hunger for God is really God's holy hunger for us.

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