The Eating The Bread Of Angels
God Provides, We Feed, Children Live
by Eric Elkin
Hunger is one of the by-products of war rarely covered in movies. Try to think of a war movie where hunger is presented as a real threat to life. Typically, soldiers go about their business without ever stopping to eat. They march long distances, fight grueling battles and rest in the sun when the fighting is over. Rarely do you see them scavenging for food.
In reality, soldiers battle hunger all the time. If soldiers fight hunger, imagine what happens to the people living in villages torn apart by the conflict. Food was in scarce supply even in the United States during World War II. Compared to England and the rest of Europe, places of direct conflict, they had food in abundance.
War exposes the most consist driving force in creating hunger, political conflict. The problem is not the amount of food produced, nor our ability to distribute food. Hunger is most often caused by warring nations and corrupt governments.
David Beckmann, president of Bread for the World, once told a story about a plane delivering food to a nation of starving people. The U.N. plane landed at an airport to distribute food to people gathered near the runway. Before it could be unloaded, soldiers appeared and stopped distribution. Eventually, the soldiers let the food rot on the plane, while the people stood around it begging to eat.
A gruff old Vietnam veteran once talked to me about war. He knew I was a pastor and he had a burning question to ask, why did the children have to starve? He told me the killing never bothered him. To him, adults fight and try to kill each other all the time. It’s what they do. What he couldn’t understand were the children.
Every time they entered a village there were starving children. In the end, the memory and pain of watching innocent children starving haunted him. They didn’t do anything to deserve it. “Where was God with those starving children?” he asked.
Herbert Hoover was not one of the great U.S. presidents. He was president at the time of the Stock Market Crash of 1929 and during Prohibition. In Belgium, though, his status is legendary. Statues were erected to remember his feeding Europe after WW I. Hoover was responsible for saving over 10 million lives from starvation. A dynamic person of faith, he believed in feeding the hungry.
Faith is more than some personal growth option. Faith is about exercising our trust in God by tending to the needs of our neighbors. God sends food in abundance, in this abundance, we are called to share. We share so that wounded mortals of the world may eat the bread of angels and know life.
- When have you encountered hunger?
- What can you do to help ensure food is distributed to those in need?
- How would you respond to the question, “Where was God with those starving Children?”
- What does faith look like in a world of poverty?