Living in Nigeria, a country that has had an unfair share of the prevalent terrorist activities which has changed the world dramatically, I had thought that Boko Haram is the greatest evil that has yet befallen my part of the world. Statistics say that Boko haram has killed about 20,000 people since inception about 7 years ago, and about 1.5 million have been displaced. Quite frankly, with the terror which their operations send across the nation anytime they strike, I thought they had killed 10 times more than they had in the number of years this menace had rocked my dear nation, Nigeria.
I was amazed to find out that hunger kills 100 times more than Boko Haram. On the hunger statistics page of World Food Programme, WFP’s website (http://www.wfp.org/hunger/stats), it is conspicuously written that “Hunger kills more people every year than AIDS, Malaria and Tuberculosis combined”. They reeled off shocking statistics about hunger as follows:
- Some 805 million people in the world do not have enough food to lead a healthy active life. That’s about one in nine people on earth.
- The vast majority of the world’s hungry people live in developing countries, where 13.5 percent of the population is undernourished.
- Asia is the continent with the most hungry people—two thirds of the total. The percentage in southern Asia has fallen in recent years but in western Asia it has increased slightly.
- Sub-Saharan Africa is the region with the highest prevalence (percentage of population) of hunger. One person in four there is undernourished.
- Poor nutrition causes nearly half (45%) of deaths in children under five – 3.1 million children each year.
- One out of six children—roughly 100 million—in developing countries is underweight.
- One in four of the world’s children are stunted. In developing countries the proportion can rise to one in three.
- If women farmers had the same access to resources as men, the number of hungry in the world could be reduced by up to 150 million.
- 66 million primary school-age children attend classes hungry across the developing world, with 23 million in Africa alone.
- WFP calculates that US$3.2 billion is needed per year to reach all 66 million hungry school-age children.
Poor nutrition or hunger, kills about 3.1 million people each year. That’s in exponential proportions to what terrorism does. We have a bigger crisis in the world than the ones we are informed of. And to think that $3.2 billion only is needed to reach all hungry school age children. I say “only”, because that’s just a small fraction of what America spent on pet food in year 2014 alone.[i] And some in the world are richer than that many times over. What a world! If we are waiting for the famine which was predicted in Matthew 24 as characterizing the time of the end, we might be missing something.
While many die of hunger, some others are allergic to some kind of food, many others waste food and many more others spend a lot of money to feed pets. It’s an uneven world we live in.
Hunger is not always a bad thing, especially when food and water are available. It is bad when it kills because it is evidence that food, which can quench hunger, is not available. This perhaps is why Jesus said “Blessed are those who hunger and thirst for righteousness, for they shall be satisfied.” (Matt. 5:6).
Unlike physical food, one doesn’t naturally feel hunger for righteousness or thirst for it. It is like the difference between being hungry and wanting food from a particular eatery. If one is really hungry, you don’t wait for food from miles away, you eat that which you can find close to you. Hunger and thirst for righteousness is deliberate; it is voluntary not involuntary like physical hunger for food. “No human agent can supply that which will satisfy the hunger and thirst of the soul. But Jesus says, “’Behold, I stand at the door, and knock: if any man hear My voice, and open the door, I will come in to him, and will sup with him, and he with Me.’ ‘I am the bread of life: he that cometh to Me shall never hunger; and he that believeth on Me shall never thirst.’ Revelation 3:20; John 6:35.”[ii] Jesus presents us with Himself, His Word, that alone which can bring proper satisfaction to the soul. He urges and pleads that we take it, He does not force it on anyone. Even though many do not see Christ as the food which their soul need, that alone can bring full satisfaction to man’s soul. As Jesus told the woman at the well “If you knew the gift of God and who it is that asks you for a drink, you would have asked him and he would have given you living water… Everyone who drinks this water will be thirsty again, but whoever drinks the water I give him will never thirst. Indeed, the water I give him will become in him a spring of water welling up to eternal life.” (John 4:10,13,14).
Like the woman at the well, our world today craves for satisfaction, but we look for them in the wrong places. We seek for things that cannot satisfy. Money, fame, power, education, marriage, relationships etc. But sooner or later, we find out that the maxim “human wants are insatiable” is very true. Many have all these things but still feel a vacuum. Someone said there is a hole in the human heart which God-alone can fill. (a God-size hole). The greatest human need is satiable, man needs God. The Bible confidently posits that it can satisfy man’s greatest need; the Psalmist says “Delight yourself in the Lord; and He will give you the desires of your heart.” (Psalms 37:4). Hunger and thirst after God. Seek first the kingdom of God and its righteousness, and all those things will be added unto you (cf. Matt. 6:25-33).
Ellen White wrote: Jesus did not convey the idea that merely one draft of the water of life would suffice the receiver. He who tastes of the love of Christ will continually long for more; but he seeks for nothing else. The riches, honors, and pleasures of the world do not attract him. The constant cry of his heart is, More of Thee. And He who reveals to the soul its necessity is waiting to satisfy its hunger and thirst. Every human resource and dependence will fail. The cisterns will be emptied, the pools become dry; but our Redeemer is an inexhaustible fountain. We may drink, and drink again, and ever find a fresh supply. He in whom Christ dwells has within himself the fountain of blessing,–“a well of water springing up into everlasting life.” From this source he may draw strength and grace sufficient for all his needs.[iii] If we sincerely thirst for Christ and hunger for Him, we will not perish, but shall have everlasting life, because He is ever willing to give Himself more than we are willing to ask of Him.
It is not enough to acknowledge that God exists. It is not enough to acknowledge that Christ came from God. What God wants is for such knowledge to translate to a desire for Him, a craving for Him, a realization that one is headed for doom without Him. A realization that leads to allowing the righteousness of Christ to imbue one’s life, such that such a life lives according to the directions of the Word of God, obeying His commands and doing His will.
Are you hungry? Seek Him and He will fill you. He says: You will seek me and find me when you seek me with all your heart. I will be found by you,’ declares the Lord, ‘and will bring you back from captivity.’ (Jer. 29:13, 14).
[ii] Ellen G. White, Thoughts from the Mount of Blessing, p.18
[iii] Ellen G. White, The Desire of Ages, p. 187