Hunger for God in the Wilderness

The cinder cone in Lassen Volcanic National Park, California

The cinder cone in Lassen Volcanic National Park, California

The wilderness makes us hungry for God.

Little stream above Hug Point, Oregon

Little stream above Hug Point, Oregon

So many people will say that when they go to the wilderness, they get filled back up; able to spend time with God, to be refreshed and restored.

Mt. Hood from Gnarl Ridge, Oregon

Mt. Hood from Gnarl Ridge, Oregon

But the reason that the wilderness does this to us – refreshing us, restoring us – is because first it creates in us a hunger for God.

Black Canyon of the Gunnison from Exclamation Point, Colorado

Black Canyon of the Gunnison from Exclamation Point, Colorado

The hunger is there, in our hearts, all the time.  When we go into the wilderness, we lose the distractions of everyday life.  Then the wilderness awakens in us the desire that was there all along, but we were too busy, too preoccupied, to realize.

Thistle on Third Beach, Olympic National Park, Washington

Thistle on Third Beach, Olympic National Park, Washington

It’s like when I’m working hard on a project all afternoon, and suddenly I smell the neighbor’s steak cooking on their grill, and suddenly I’m famished.  I was hungry before, but I didn’t realize it until I smelled the steak.

Near Coyote Gulch in Grand Staircase-Escalante National Monument, Utah

Near Coyote Gulch in Grand Staircase-Escalante National Monument, Utah

It’s similar in the wilderness.  We are awakened to the hunger of our hearts – our desperation and need for God, and just how close He really is to us.

When we hunger, God comes and satisfy that hunger.  “For [God] satisfies the thirsty and fills the hungry with good things… Let [the people] give thanks to the Lord for his unfailing love and his wonderful deeds for mankind” (Psalm 107:9, 15)

North Clear Creek Falls, Colorado

North Clear Creek Falls, Colorado

And it’s in that moment that we find the peace and fulfillment we go to the wilderness to seek.