“Nectar in a Sieve”
That’s the name of a novel by Kamala Markandaya. She helped me get closer to the hungry people in Africa:
Hunger is a curious thing. At first it is with you all the time, waking and sleeping and in your dreams. Your belly cries out insistently, and there is a gnawing and a pain as if your very vitals were being devoured. You must stop it at any cost, and you buy a moment’s respite even while you know and fear the sequel.
Then the pain is no longer sharp but dull. This, too, is with you always, so that you think of food many times a day and each time a terrible sickness assails you, and because you know this you try to avoid the thought, but you cannot, it is with you.
Then that, too, is gone. All pain, all desire, only a great emptiness, like the sky, like a well in drought, and it is now that the strength drains from your limbs, and you try to rise and find you cannot, or to swallow water and your throat is powerless. Both the swallow and the effort of retaining the liquid tax you to the uttermost.
Emergency food aid is a stop-gap measure, not a solution to world hunger. Just like pulling a friend out of a burning car, and not a solution to traffic fatalities. You do it anyway.
Keep in mind that Sunday evening, December 23, we will talk about a biblical perspective on world hunger. We will take a special offering and collect the Baptist World Aid food boxes.
Remember, too, that prayer week is January 6-13. Does reading about hunger make you want to do some serious fasting? Think about it. Pray about it. It would not hurt most of us to experience hunger for a few days during the week of prayer. No, fasting doesn’t feed the hungry. But it changes the satisfied. Are there things you want to change?