Book Review – Hungry by Rondi Lauterbach
The experience of hunger has always fascinated me. Why were we created with a hunger drive? What (if anything) did God intend by creating us to hunger? Of course, without hunger those among us who are not maintenance-minded we could easily go malnourished or even worse, die. Imagine those who forget to change their oil, mow their lawn, or brush their hair after a few days of neglecting to eat of we were created without a propensity to hunger! Survival is a very practical reason for our sense of hunger. Pragmatism aside, I can’t help but think that there is a deeper and more profound purpose. After all, as Rondi Lauterbach points out in her book Hungry, God very well could have created us not only without hunger, but also without the need to eat in order to sustain ourselves. Not only this, but there is a consistent thread in scripture related to food. In the garden of Eden, God told Adam to eat!
Behold, I have given you every herb bearing seed, which is upon the face of all the earth, and every tree, in the which is the fruit of a tree yielding seed; to you it shall be for meat
In Ecclesiastes, we are told to eat our bread and drink our wine with happiness. In Matthew, in teaching us to pray, Christ tells his disciples to thank our heavenly Father for our daily bread. We know that the church in Acts ate together often as a part of the Lord’s Supper (or more accurately the Lord’s Supper WAS a meal- a weekly feast). Over and over again, stories in scripture are centered around food and eating. The most telling passage however is in John 6 when Christ declares himself to be the bread of life and that those come to him will never hunger. It’s here where Lauterbach begins to unfold the mystery and splendor of hunger. Hunger, as Lauterbach brilliantly explains, is meant to point us to something greater than ourselves. It reminds us that we are completely dependent on something foreign to us in order to meet our deepest desire for satisfaction. The practical application of this truth is to learn to feed on Christ so that God is the ultimate source of our satisfaction.
In part 1, Lauterbach writes about the nature of food, our cravings, and our need for satisfaction in Christ. These cravings that we have are not physical cravings for food (although it may manifest itself as this) but cravings of the soul. The list of our cravings is long. Cravings for such things as significance, perfection, status, love and more often drive us to sin and despair. In the introduction to the book, Lauterbach imagines a scenario in which her son stares blankly into the refrigerator before exclaiming that there is “nothing to eat”. She responds by telling him that there is a turkey sandwich waiting for him in the refrigerator, he just needs to gather the turkey, bread, cranberry sauce and cream cheese and get to work. This is what she helps us to do in Part 2 of Hungry. We learn to see what is before us and put it together in order to feast on Christ– and the primary means for this is the study and application of the Word of God. This is an extraordinarily rich activity. It is here where Lauterbach expertly guides us through a way to read the Bible that goes beyond mere studying; it is a process of learning to consume, east and feast on scripture with Christ as the center of the feast. Not only do we learn to approach scripture as a means to satisfy our hunger, but Lauterbach gives us the opportunity to put it into practice using the book of Philemon.
Hungry is laid out in such a way that we can easily use it in private study or in a group setting. Each chapter ends with questions to reflect upon and discuss. The questions are designed to start us thinking about the things we hunger for and how we can fulfill that huger in a way that honors God and sets our appetites and affections upon Christ. I can’t think of a better book for those who are struggling with inordinate appetites and who desire to escape the endless restlessness that our appetites often create within us. In my opinion, that describes each and every one of us.
Where to Purchase
About the Author
Rondi Lauterbach is a pastor’s wife who has been a friend and encourager to women in their life’s callings. She is a mother, grandmother, Bible study leader, Pilates teacher, and fierce competitor at all board games.
Disclosure of Material Connection: I received this book free from P&R Publishing in exchange for an online review. I was not required to write a positive review. The opinions I have expressed are my own. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255: “Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising.”
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