Hunger Is an Effective Teacher

Hunger Is an Effective Teacher (And 6 Cheap and Easy Meal Plans with Recipes for Your Family)

I hope manna will be on the menu in the New Earth–not because it sounds particularly delicious in the biblical account. On the contrary, it sounds pretty bland, and if you put any stock at all in the Israelite’s reviews of this bread from heaven, it was quite monotonous fare. I like to picture the Hebrew women gathering around open cooking fires, sharing recipes, swapping stories about this miracle food that arrived at dawn each day to stave off the nation’s hunger.

It’s amazing what we learn about ourselves in our hunger. What we crave and how we behave when we don’t get what we expected reveal entire mountain ranges of data about the state of our hearts. According to Moses, God used this bit of inside information to plan his customized wilderness curriculum:

And you shall remember that the Lord your God led you all the way these forty years in the wilderness, to humble you and test you, to know what was in your heart…”

Deuteronomy 8:2

Hunger Reveals the State of Your Heart

Sometimes God shows us our hearts by withholding what we want. The Israelites were hungry, so they complained against God, became resentful, and wallowed in their own special brand of self-pity.

Sometimes God shows us our hearts by giving us what we want. God fed his people with manna, a food they did not recognize or understand. (According to hebrewversity.com, “When the heavenly bread began to rain down, in the original Hebrew the people of Israel asked: “Ma’n Hu?” {?מן הוא} – English for “what is it?” and that is the origin of the name ‘manna.'”) Ironically, even with full bellies, they still complained against God, became resentful, and wallowed in their own special brand of self-pity.

As my husband and I waited for the joy of parenting to be ours, before our first son was born, I became impatient and resentful. God was revealing the state of my heart by withholding what I wanted. Then… after baby number one was on the scene, I learned that I was not nearly as well prepared for mothering as I had imagined. God revealed the state of my heart once again–impatient and resentful–by giving me what I wanted!

Hunger Reveals the Goodness of God

My season of waiting and the wilderness wanderings of God’s people put the goodness of God on display. Pain is instructive, and when we find ourselves hungry for something unattainable or choking down God’s provision that looks nothing like what we asked for (“What Is It?”), our hearts echo the psalmist’s:

Can God prepare a table in the wilderness?”

Psalm 78:19

Will God nourish my soul in the midst of a howling wasteland?
Of course, he can.
If you are finding yourself in the wilderness today, hungering for something beyond your grasp, know that God, in his goodness and sovereignty, plans our desert days to woo and win some untouched parts of our hearts that would be unavailable to him outside the wilderness.

Allow your hunger to reveal the goodness of God and to show you what’s in your own heart as you wait for manna to arrive.

Holding you in the Light,

P.S. Keep reading for the link to my new guest post at Joyful Life Magazine featuring meal plans and recipes for hungry boys!

It’s amazing what we learn about ourselves in our hunger. What we crave and how we behave when we don’t get what we expected reveal entire mountain ranges of data about the state of our hearts.

Help for a Different Kind of Hunger!

One parenting lesson inscribed on my brain while sitting in the driver’s seat of a blue mini-van is still vivid in my memory:  End of day pick-ups were much more pleasant if I appeared in the school parking lot with a snack.

Some days, raising four boys felt like standing up to my neck in food preparation. I loved having their friends visit for both planned and impromptu gatherings, and some of my sweetest memories happened with just the six of us seated around the dining room table. Loving my family well with food that was both delicious and nutritious was a joy—and it was also a LOT of work.

I’ve shared a collection of cheap, easy recipes and menu ideas with my friends at Joyful Life Magazine, and it’s offered to you, too, with love, with fond memories, and with a heart full of hope that they will help you in the good work of drawing your people together around a welcoming table. CLICK HERE for my collection of six cheap and easy meal plans, complete with recipes to help you satisfy your family’s hunger!

May your family gather with joy around God’s gift of food, and may those hungry boy bellies always be filled with goodness!

I’m sharing 6 cheap and easy meal plans complete with recipes at @joyfullifemag! #boymum

P.S. Other recipes I’ve shared here on the blog include easy over-night cinnamon rolls and our family’s favorite Friday night pizza. Enjoy!

And One Last Thing…

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I’ve developed a free guided meditation to encourage you in a deep dive into the truth of Psalm 46:1: “God is our refuge and strength, a very present help in trouble.” I’ve found that the surest antidote for the poison of the lies we tell ourselves is LARGE doses of truth, and I’m committed to the process of helping women to become confident Christ-followers and students of God’s Word. Click on the button below for your free gift…

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52 thoughts on “Hunger Is an Effective Teacher (And 6 Cheap and Easy Meal Plans with Recipes for Your Family)”

  1. Pausing to discern our longings (hunger) will reveal the source and necessity of our hunger. At times it is good to go without as it helps to bring our longings into line.

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  2. We’re such notional creatures, aren’t we? The hardest lesson for me is learning to want what God wants for me—not what I want for myself. Thank you for the food for thought!

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  3. I’m glad I’m not the only who prayed for babies, and when they finally came, discovered I was not nearly as talented a mom as I imagined I would be! It is definitely true that both withholding and granting our wishes reveals our hearts. And I’m always surprised!

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  4. Michele, this is so good! Hunger in every shape and form. And I have never heard of The Hebrew University. Cool resource to one who loves to look up the Hebrew and Greek for words in the scriptures I am using for a post. Thanks. When I am hungry, I will be pondering it’s whereabout.

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  5. Another insightful post, Michele! I’m another who was so anxious to have a child, and then seriously wondered what I was thinking when he finally arrived. Our baby cried almost continually, slept in dribs and drabs, created a mountain of laundry . . . well, you undoubtedly remember the exhausting routine. How comforting to know I wasn’t the only one! Looking back, I see how God was teaching me about patience and self-denial in those days. Pain is indeed instructive; and now I’m very thankful for all the lessons I’ve learned through difficulty and challenge.

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  6. Becoming a mom was the very best thing that ever happened to my selfish heart. I have always said that God grew me up spiritually while my children were in the midst of growing up. “God In his goodness and sovereignty, plans our desert days to woo and win some untouched parts of our hearts that would be unavailable to him outside the wilderness.” Amen!

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  7. It would be interesting to get to taste manna. I wouldn’t want it everyday, mind you, but a taste would be good. 🙂 I hope the hunger of my heart reveals my longing for more of God.

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  8. Some of my best memories involve a group of hungry teens hanging out here after school waiting for basketball practice to start or youth group to begin. It was hard to keep enough food in the house (we went through 10-12 gals of milk a week!), but I wouldn’t trade those times. And I realized that I didn’t need to be a great cook-teenagers aren’t picky eaters- just hungry. I just needed to open my home and love them.

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    1. That’s SO true! I have always said that quantity is more important than quality when it comes to feeding hungry kids! It’s so good to hear from you, and I have some of the same wonderful (and chaotic 😁) memories!

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  9. Michele, I loved this post. And this line: “God, in his goodness and sovereignty, plans our desert days to woo and win some untouched parts of our hearts that would be unavailable to him outside the wilderness.” So true. I’ve walked in wilderness seasons, and they definitely reveal things in my heart that need God’s attention. Heading over to see your recipes now. 🙂

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  10. If you are finding yourself in the wilderness today, hungering for something beyond your grasp, know that God, in his goodness and sovereignty, plans our desert days to woo and win some untouched parts of our hearts that would be unavailable to him outside the wilderness.

    I really loved that paragraph.
    And I find comfort knowing that God does have things to teach me about leaning on Him.

    Thank you for sharing this at the Sunday Sunshine Blog Hop

    Laurie

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    1. We might have griped to one another as we scoured our dishes with sand and speculated about when the cloud would move again. Definitely can’t throw stones at complaining Israelites when I am so addictive to variety. 🙄

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  11. Thank you for sharing those recipes. It is indeed hard work feeding hungry boys! The pasta dish looks really good. I make a tonne of Chocolate Chip Cookies already since my son always takes a box back with him to share with his friends in the army.

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  12. Oh wow, those recipes are great Michele. I love the pizza babies and don’t cinnamon rolls smell and taste so fantastic in the morning. I’ll have to give these a try. Hunger can most definitely teach a lesson. Every day I’m incredibly thankful for the super-long days that I was working on my writing and hoping that I might have the opportunity to have my own book, even when I felt like giving up. I can’t quite believe that I now have two! Thank you for joining us for #mischiefandmemories

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  13. Oh Michele … what a beautiful way to describe God’s purposes for our wilderness seasons. When I look back at some of my own, I can definitely see His sovereign plan at work in ways I never would have guessed in a million years. I loved this post!

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