A Blessed Hunger

– A message by Doug Yoder

Blessed are those who hunger and thirst for righteousness, for they will be filled. – Matthew 5:6.

You’re hungry if you haven’t eaten for a while. You’re thirsty if you need a good drink.

Someone who has been treated unfairly, and takes this to authorities who deal with it justly, will not any more hunger for the uprightness that is expressed in justice.

Someone who sees someone else suffering unfairly, and advocates on behalf of that person, and the authorities wisely exercise their power on behalf of the victim, will no longer hunger for justice, because the demands of justice will be satisfied.

We hunger for justice when justice is long in coming or has been denied.

A young woman was gang-raped in Pakistan some time ago, the clearly guilty captured. But the case wound its way through the legal system over a period of several years, beset with technicalities and unfair tribunals, the assailants always escaping justice, until the matter at last came to be heard before Pakistan’s highest court. The verdict? Innocence for the assailants.

The woman’s response? “I will never stop looking for justice.”

A woman like this, with such a terrible fate, looks like a woman who has suffered a curse. What a grievous wrong, what a miscarriage of justice. What else could explain the mockery of this woman’s pain by the judicial system of an entire country?

But Jesus tells us that this woman is, in one way, blessed. Her hunger and thirst uprightness — if only one judge had shown it! — knows no bounds. To that same degree, according to Jesus, she is blessed.

How is this possible?

Is it because to those who deeply hunger and long thirst, food and water are sweeter than to those who have never known want? Does a purification comes from fasting that makes it hard for complacency to set up shop? Do those who most suffer injustice most delight in deliverance from it? Miriam sang and danced with all her might on those far shores of that Red Sea.

Jesus blesses the hunger for justice because one day – will it be in the life we know or in another one? – this hunger will be filled, all things and all things and all manner of things made well.

The blessed hunger for justice does not in time turn bitter in the mouth, nor sour the face, nor shrivel it up. A blessed hunger makes the face shine with a clear hope, with a firm purpose, and with the pure knowledge that darkness cannot understand a light lit with the fire of God, nor put it out (John 1), nor discourage nor defeat it – not yesterday, not today, and not tomorrow, when the hunger for all things upright will be fully satisfied.