I gazed out the window of my office, watching a hundred giggling, shrieking, happy children play in the packed dirt compound of our preschool. Playground games are universal; Tag, I Spy, King of the Mountain, and Spin Me until I’m Dizzy. Girls whispered secrets to each other, and the boys pretended not to care that they were the targets of girlish gossip. Most of the children in my school had been born in the refugee camp they called home. Plump cheeks, sturdy legs, shiny hair, bright eyes, and dazzling smiles bore evidence of a healthy diet at home and good health care. We supplemented their diet with nourishing milk biscuits in the morning and afternoon. Their living conditions were harsh, and the camp hygiene was rudimentary, yet most of the children under my care were rarely ill.
One child stood out from the rest. I wondered if she was biracial. Her hair was much lighter than her playmates. Her skin did not have the deep mahogany lustre of her friends. At one point, she shouted out in complaint at some schoolyard injustice. When she did, I could see that her teeth were in terrible condition. Her teacher called her over in quiet reprimand over her choice of words. I needed no translation. By her teacher’s tone, I could tell the little one had expressed herself with highly inappropriate language. When the girl passed by, I could see her legs were slightly bowed from rickets, and she had the telltale signs of a belly full of parasites.
She refused to partake of the goodness set before her
I asked my translator if her family had just arrived in camp. I was expecting him to say they had just arrived that week. In my mind’s eye, I could see her healthy and well, running with the other children after a couple of months of healthy food and medical care. I was startled out of my happily-ever-after dream when I learned she had been born in the camp to Cambodian parents.
The story went that the girl’s mother died shortly after she was born. The grief-stricken father had no idea how to raise a child and relied on the help of the older women in the camp. As they felt pity for the poor motherless thing, they gave in to her every whim. I discovered the girl’s diet consisted of a tiny bit of rice and meat, but her mainstays were black-market candy and soda. Her craving for sweets was so entrenched that she scorned our milk biscuits. They were too bland. Her father worked two or three jobs to finance his daughter’s odd diet as she refused to eat the fresh greens, rice, beans, and fish that the United Nations provided.
Although many agencies and officials tried to intervene, there was little they could do without the cooperation of her caregivers. This little girl was severely malnourished in a land of plenty.
Are you malnourished in a land of plenty?
Our Creator provides us with an abundance of nourishing food and a Daily Food Guide, that if properly followed, will see us into maturity as healthy, productive, and joy-filled children of the High King. He invites us to take advantage of the ‘whole meal deal’. Entrees of worship, bible reading and study, drawing away to be alone with Him, fellowship with believers, being of service and witness to others, and sacrificial giving are laid out for us to feast upon.
The Bible provides us with a host of nourishing side dishes that are too numerous to list here. However, we will find ourselves malnourished if we limit ourselves to only one entree. Worship is a glorious and delightfully toothsome morsel. A lively discussion of theological matters can be a meaty and hearty dish to nosh upon. It’s tempting to go back for seconds and thirds of our favourite spiritual dishes and leave the rest for others. However, we need to sample all God has for us. Although we all have unique gifts, callings, and personal preferences, God asks us to ‘taste and see.’ All he lays before us is wholesome and created for our good.
A good question to ask yourself if you are feeling stuck or ineffective in your Christian walk. Is it possible you are spiritually malnourished? Are there areas of your spiritual life you are neglecting because you don’t think they are satisfying? Are you reaching a hand in the cookie jar more often than you are reaching for those things that would bring balance? Ask the Lord for a healthy hunger for intimacy with him. He will be faithful to answer and will point out to you the bounty he has set before you. It’s up to you, however. You can stay malnourished, or you can feast on his goodness.
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Until Next Week,
©2019 Katherine Walden
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