"If you extend your soul to the hungry
And satisfy the afflicted soul,
Then your light shall dawn in the darkness,
And your darkness shall be as the noonday." Isaiah 58:10
The hungry have been on my mind a lot in the last week. More than that, it seems like everything I read has hungry people in it, everything I see has hungry people in it. Just this Sunday a missionary shared about finding a starving child in the bush in Africa, and all I could think about is this horrible injustice that there are people in this world who are starving. And there are- there are millions! You think I'm exaggerating? Last year 925 million people worldwide were identified as being undernourished. 925 Million. That's so, so horribly disgusting. That's 13.6 percent of the entire world's population.
What on earth?
How can there be so many starving people. Just thinking about a child going without food for one meal is enough to turn my stomach, I cannot imagine an existence where even one meal a day doesn't happen. There are times where I am at the dance school with the kids, and I will hear a child talk about how their mom forgot to pack them a dinner as they eye everyone else's sandwiches or Easy-Mac enviously. I am always hopeful that this is just a case of the mom deciding that dinner will be after dance is done.
Last Friday as part of our school day, we spent some time talking about people in other cultures and what they ate, and it was really eye opening to my little boy. His favorite food on the planet is pizza, and in his mind, he cannot imagine wanting to eat something like porridge every day, twice a day, when there is such wonderful food as pizza available. It was a sobering discussion- to realize that there are people who have absolutely no choice in what or when they eat.
And yet, I keep thinking about this. This last week was one of those rare weeks where the finances did not quite work out as planned, and when all was said and done, there was no money left for groceries. None. It really wasn't a big deal- I had made a meal plan for the coming week and a shopping list, but I simply set them aside and we've been managing just fine with the food already in the pantry, freezer, and especially the garden. It made me realize just how truly blessed we are. I mean, we may not be the wealthiest people, but we at least always have good food to eat. We could probably go an entire month without going grocery shopping if we had to- meals would get scary, and the kids would definitely not be happy, but it's certainly possible. But what about those people who really and truly have no food in the home. None. And they have no money, no job, and actually, no food to be had where they are living. They have to rely on various world health organizations to deliver aid... how many people are perishing while they wait?
It's terribly heartbreaking, and as I've been dwelling on it this week, it's reminded me that we have been a little slack in our giving in that direction. Look what it says up there in Isaiah- if we give our attention to feeding the poor and hungry, our darkness shall be as the noonday- meaning, there won't be any darkness. We need to be more purposeful in helping to feed the hungry. I keep thinking about the starving people worldwide, but the reality is also that there are starving people right here in our country. There are children all over the country who don't get even one meal when they are at home with their families. They get breakfast and lunch when they go to school during the week, and that's it. Can you imagine? Can you imagine eating a hot meal around noon every day, and then having to wait to eat again until the next morning? And in some schools, lunch can be as early as 10:30 in the morning. It's awful to think of it.
As I'm thinking on all this and writing this morning, I honestly am not entirely sure of the purpose of this posting this morning. It is reminding me that I've had an idea of a project on the way-back burner that I've been thinking about trying to work on. It is also reminding me that it's been a while since we've made a grocery shopping trip for the purpose of helping stock the food pantry. Maybe there's someone else out there who needed the reminders. Maybe we all needed it pointed out that it IS scriptural to feed the hungry.
"He who gives to the poor will not want, but he who hides his eyes [from their want] will have many a curse." Proverbs 28:27
I know a lot of people as of late have been more in a preparedness/stock-up frame of mind. Organizations say that in an idea situation, we should all have anywhere from a week to a full years worth of food on hand. A years worth of food on hand. Think about the obscene amount of food that would have to be. It's actually turning my stomach to think of all these "caches" of food being socked away when there are neighbors wondering where their next meal is going to come from. I think that there is a way that people can both be prepared for an emergency, and also help the people in their community who are going hungry.
My prayer this morning is for opened eyes to the hunger around us. May every one's eyes be opened in our communities, and may the food pantries and soup kitchens suddenly find themselves with an abundance of food. Too often we hear of shortages in these areas. May the hungry be fed, and may they be satisfied, and may they know the love of Jesus- the love that feeds them so much more than a meal ever could.