One of the great malnutrition killers is the disease kwashiorkor. Infants and children who suffer from this condition have been starving for a long time. Kwashiorkor is basically a protein deficiency, though it can also be caused by a deficiency of one of several types of nutrients.
Adults can get by on a heavy starch diet for a while, but children must have protein for their growing bodies. A starving child has used up all the reserves of fat and muscle—the body actually cannibalizes itself for the sake of life. You’ve seen the news pictures and the appeal letters from groups that aid children in peril—spindly legs, bloated belly, dusty skin, black hair bleaching reddish. A starving child at this stage is beyond tears; it is waiting for death.
Dr. Paul Brand writes about being at the bedside of children in this near-terminal condition. He tells how they actually refuse food, turning their heads away from a spoon or glass of milk. In a hospital, the hunger patient can be given intravenous feedings, or a persistent helper can sit by the bedside dosing the child with minuscule portions until the swallowing reflex takes over. Dr Brand writes, “The reward comes when, almost suddenly, the child looks at you, and opens his own mouth for food. Appetite is coming back! A sense of hunger is awakening … life will return.”
Perhaps you are suffering from a case of spiritual kwashiorkor. It has been so long since any real food reached your soul that you are starving for nutrients.
The purpose of my Hungry Souls ministry is to pray for an awakening of your hunger. Soulish Food is a feeding program in the form of a biweekly e-newsletter. Bit by bit, I hold the morsel to your lips. Over time, spiritual mentors can become experts at the “drip method.” They know the Holy Spirit and are confident He can restore our appetite.
Don’t struggle. Don’t try to whip yourself into a feeding frenzy. Just rest. Just rest.
Hear these words whispered into your weariness (you can hardly lift your head): “Taste—just taste—of the goodness of the Lord.”
“Some wandered in desert wastelands. … They were hungry and thirsty, and their lives ebbed away. Then they cried out to the lord in their trouble, and he delivered them from their distress. … Let them give thanks to the Lord for his unfailing love and his wonderful deeds to men, for he satisfies the thirsty and fills the hungry with good things” (Psalm 107:4-9).
My prayer is that you will be satisfied, little one, that you will be able to sip, then swallow, then chew again. But for now, be still. Someone else is tending to the feeding.
Your Christian Blogger,
Other projects involving Karen right now are: Working with teams of Christian women to design Retreats of Silence, in both 24-hours and three-days formats, through the aegis of Hungry Souls. Developing hospitality initiatives that train Christian men and women how to use their own homes in caring outreaches through the Open Heart, Open Home ministries. Launching the Global Bag Project, a worldwide effort that markets sustainable cloth shopping bags to provide sustainable incomes for bag-makers in developing nations. Researching the impact of listening groups while overseeing some 240 small groups over the last three years. Experimenting with teleconference mentoring for wannabe (…better) writers. Designing the Tales of the Kingdom Web site.