When was the last time you were hungry? You might say, right before lunch or breakfast today, but were you really hungry, or you just felt it was time to eat? Unless we have lived in poverty or other extreme conditions, most of us have never known hunger out of circumstance. I grew up in poverty for a number of years and my mother always made sure we had something to eat. In our current society, there have been things in place, such as SNAP/food stamps and food cupboards to make sure even those without means still have something to eat. This has not always been the case throughout history or even today in many parts of the world, where an estimated 3.1 million children die each year from malnutrition and starvation. Do we really know hunger?
And he humbled you and let you hunger and fed you with manna, which you did not know, nor did your fathers know, that he might make you know that man does not live by bread alone, but man lives by every word that comes from the mouth of the Lord. Deuteronomy 8:3
Someone asked today, ‘When was the last time you went all day without eating?’ For most of us, it’s usually been longer than we can remember, if at all. Most of us don’t regularly fast, except when we are required to do so for a medical procedure. Hunger makes us uncomfortable and none of us usually chooses to be in that state. But intentionally fasting does put us in that state, in an awareness that there is a lack of food in my belly. What happens when we get hungry…we get desperate and motivated to find something to eat. When we intentionally fast, those physical desires for food remind us of our spiritual need for God, and we are often in a better state to communicate with Him than when we are well fed and complacent and think we are in control of all we need in life. We need to be regularly reminded that each bite, each loaf of bread, each day we are given is a gift from God, and that should transform us to be more like Him.
Blessed are those who hunger and thirst for righteousness, for they shall be satisfied. Matthew 5:8
So, before we take that first bite of breakfast in the morning, and before we take for granted that we will get another meal, we offer up a word of thanks for the food we plan to consume, as well as for everything else we are given. Saying grace for each meal is a routine reminder of that, but periodic fasting, even for just one meal, is a deeper felt reminder of what we so often take for granted, and our deeper need for God. May we be reminded of that and truly grateful for the greater gift of Salvation each time we seek nourishment.
If a brother or sister is poorly clothed and lacking in daily food, and one of you says to them, “Go in peace, be warmed and filled,” without giving them the things needed for the body, what good is that? So also faith by itself, if it does not have works, is dead. James 2:15-17
Yours in Christ,