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The days of the blameless are known to the Lord,
and their inheritance will endure forever.
In times of disaster they will not wither;
in days of famine they will enjoy plenty.Psalm 37:18
When I first read this verse and sat down to write today’s devotional, I knew just what I’d write. I’ll talk about how we can’t take these verses literally, but need instead to look at them spiritually. I’ll make the case that the righteous may go hungry in the physical sense, but they’ll never experience a famine of the soul. No matter the grumbling in our tummies, our spirits can be fat, fed and satisfied.
That’s all true, of course. I know it to be true because I saw it firsthand in Haiti, when I watched those beautiful, starving Christians worshiping God in a sweltering, fly-infested building for three hours without their smiles ever leaving their faces. I saw it in the trek they took back miles and miles to the tents they’d been living in since the earthquake had shaken their land and hearts, and when I learned that the women happily boiled their husbands shirts for three days every week so they would be white-white and ready for a new round of worshiping come the following Sunday. These people were rich of soul. No matter their physical hunger; theirs was a joy unhindered by physical weakness and discomfort. And I was jealous.
But despite my readiness to dive into that mood, that description, I felt the nudge of the Holy Spirit reminding me of all those quiet, practical moments when I was most in need, and He was abundantly willing to meet that need. So many moments.
They came, always, when I was living in a state of utter lack. Because isn’t it usually in our low points that He brings light?
There was the summer of our church’s birth, when all was fresh and hopeful, and when every new person who wandered up our driveway for the Tuesday night Bible study was just one more assurance that we were doing as God had asked us. I was so grateful that anyone would spend their evening studying God’s word with us that I wanted to say thank you in a practical way. So I began cooking dinner for all who gathered with us. At first it was just one man, Mike Macy, and his dog, Solo. But then another joined us, and another, and by summer’s end, I was cooking Tuesday night Cabbage Patch soup for 28. It took our entire week’s grocery budget to put out that meager spread, but we said nothing. And it was in that silence that God showed Himself to be the one who gives us plenty in the days of famine.
“I was at the store and they had a two-for-one. Can you use a roast?” one would ask. Another would plunk down a gallon of milk. “I don’t know why, but I bought two. Can you use one?” Or a handed brick of cheese. “Can you guys use some cheese?”
Tell me all you want that it was human intervention; I know different. I know God was providing what we could not. And I was so grateful.
I’m still grateful. It’s been a long time since I felt physical hunger, but God is not confined to the physical. Every time I’ve felt low, He brings a word to lift me up. Every time I wonder if there’s ministry left for me in this life, He shows me someone who needs a word. Every time I’m staggered by the hatred that abounds in this culture, He reminds me that “my inheritance will endure forever.”
This life is just one small teardrop set against the backdrop of the ocean. We’re watched, and fed, and satisfied here—in every way possible. But there’s more to come. And the richness of His presence will be ours for eternity.