This is perhaps the most common phrase you’ll hear in my home. I’m completely serious. I’ve got five children, all between the ages of 10 and 15. Each of them loves to eat. In fact, they enjoying eating so much, that this is how a typical morning in my house might go: 6:30 am Julia: Momma … I’m awake. Can I have some breakfast? I’m hungry. 7:00 am Joel: I’m hungry, Mom. Are you planning on feeding me breakfast anytime soon? 7:10 am Nathan: Mom, can I make myself a couple of fried eggs? Please?!? I’m soooo hungry! 8:00 am Maddie: GiGi, I’m hungry. I ate a peach for breakfast, but I need something else to fill my stomach. 8:10 am Megan: GiGi, I know we already ate breakfast, but I’m still hungry. Can I eat something else? 8:30 am Joel: Mom … I checked, and, seriously, there is nothing to eat in this house. What are you going to do cause I’m hungry?!
Julia: Momma, isn’t it lunch time yet? I’m hungry. Megan’s hungry. Nathan is hungry. Everyone is hungry. 10:46 am Joel: I gotta lay down. I am so hungry that all I can think about is my stomach. Seriously, Mom … I need food. You can’t expect me to go on much longer. 10:58 am Megan: GiGi, I’ve noticed it is practically lunch time. Do you need me to help you make lunch or can you handle it by yourself? 11:03 am Nathan: Yay! Mom’s in the kitchen, everyone! It’s lunchtime! Maddie: Great! I thought I was going to starve to death! Joel: I hope it’s not peanut butter sandwiches again. I’m too hungry to just eat peanut butter again. Julia: Thank you, Momma! I was beginning to think you were never going to feed me! 11:15 am Mom: Lunch is served! 12:14 pm Megan: GiGi … what’s for afternoon snack? I’m feeling a little hungry.
So, perhaps that is a bit of an exaggeration … but not all that much!
There are seven people and two dogs in our home. It takes LARGE amounts of food to keep everyone feeling full and happy. Not only do we eat a lot of food, we spend enormous amounts of time thinking about food, talking about food and shopping for food. A significant portion of my day is spent in my kitchen cooking and creating delicious meals. Even with all of the focus on food, it seems that we are never full. We constantly are looking for the next opportunity to fill our stomachs and ease the hunger pains. But the question racing through my mind is this:
How can we possibly be hungry? And exactly what are we hungering for?
“Ma’am? Ma’am? Hey, Ma’am … can you help me?”
I turned around from my task of carefully arranging $300 worth of groceries in the back of my minivan. A tall, lanky boy, not much older than Joel, approached me. Blond-headed, blue-eyed, burned from the summer sun, the acne on his face told a tale … this boy was far older than his years, and I knew it wasn’t in a good way. I gave him a smile. “I don’t know if I can help you, but I’ll be glad to listen and see if I can. What’s going on?” He stuck out his hand to shake mine, and said, “Thanks. I just need some money so my sister and I can catch the bus home. Maybe if you have some change or a couple of spare dollars … just enough for two bus tickets. Can you help me?” I looked him in the eye, searching for signs of dishonesty. There was no sister to be seen. And yet, something told me that this child needed real help. I just wasn’t sure of exactly what sort of help. “Well,” I said thoughtfully, “I don’t ever carry much cash, but I probably have some change. Let me look and see what’s in my purse. While I’m looking, why don’t you tell me where your sister is at and how it came to be that you are here without enough money for a bus ride home.”
The biggest grin broke out on my face. “That is one thing I’d be happy to do.” A second later, I felt him sort of melt into my arms the way my own boys do. Deep down, I knew that this young man was hungry for something far greater than food. A meal would certainly appease his growling stomach, but the longing for love was much deeper and more intense than the hunger pains he felt. “God bless you!” I whispered in his ear. With those words, he quickly turned and jogged off, leaving me standing there to watch him depart. As I turned back to my minivan with its backend filled with bags and bags of groceries, my eyes filled up with tears and my heart overflowed with prayers.
As I started the car, the child sitting in the front seat turned to look at me and said,
“Mom, I’m hungry.”
H is for a world Hungry for more than food.
For He satisfies the longing soul, and fills the hungry soul with goodness. ~Psalm 107:9