Hunger Pangs

September 8, 2012

It’s Wednesday afternoon and I am hungry. The week prior I had read a book called, 7: An Experimental Mutiny Against Excess by Jen Hatmaker that talked all about conserving, going without and giving away. Which sounded perfect on vacation, as I read on the beach, with the breeze softly coming off the lake and a full belly. But I’m no longer in utopia and my rashly made decision that my husband agreed to last week is sounding today more like a prison than paradise. The basic premise of our self induced fast is: pick seven impoverished countries, eat like the poor there for three days each, while learning about the people/country and praying for them. The fast thus lasts 21 days. I’m on day two, ready to quit. I can’t have caffeine since poor people in other countries hardly have clean water to drink, let alone coffee. So I’m at home today with a pounding headache and an empty belly. I call my husband to see how he’s doing.
“I’m fine.” He states. “The second day is always the hardest.”

I’m put to shame by his willpower. I set my phone down and pick up my bible. I turn to Matthew chapter 4. I read how Jesus fasted for forty days in the wilderness, endured temptation and then scripture states, “he was hungry.” I go on to read that soon after his time in the wilderness his ministry really began. I sat for a moment, the realization of what I had just read sinking in. It’s as if God was saying to my heart, It’s during these seasons of fasting that something new is birthed into your life. When you take the time to remove something from your life that offers you comfort in place of me and come to me instead, I am there, ready to fill that void, offer insight, encouragement and plans for your future.

My mind wanders to the evening prior when my family was about to have dinner. Kyle and I decided that for one meal of each of the countries the kids would eat with us. Last night as Kyle was finishing up the rice I sat at the table with our kids. I read statistics on Haiti: how 80 percent live on less than two dollars a day, 60 percent, less than a dollar. I tell them how most people have one meal a day, beans and rice, if they are lucky. Often they go without eating. I read to them a story of what a typical day is like for someone in Haiti, while my children sit quietly, listening.

Afterward, Kyle prays. He prays for the people, he prays for food for them, for comfort and an end to their poverty. It was beautiful and I quickly wipe a tear while we serve the children our meager meal of rice and beans.

Amazingly, no one complains.

Our ten year old breaks the silence by asking, “Do any people from Haiti live in America?”

“Probably,” I reply.

“They’re lucky to be here.” He states.

“No, we’re lucky to be here.” I respond. He nods, and then asks for a second helping of food.

As I sit on my couch, with a new found perspective on my fast, I ask the Lord once again to meet the needs of the people in Haiti. Provide water, food, shelter, all of the basics I so easily take for granted. I get up, still hungry, but renewed by the thing I really need, time with Jesus.

John 6:35 Then Jesus declared, “I am the bread of life. Whoever comes to me will never go hungry, and whoever believes in me will never be thirsty.”

If you are interested in joining us, not only by praying, but also giving to the hunger crisis that is currently happening, World Vision (among many other wonderful organizations) is bringing hope in the form of food, water, and other basic necessities to some of the neediest places and peoples around the world.

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