The eyes of all look to you, and you give them their food at the proper time.
— Psalm 145:15
One of the most heartbreaking scenes that I remember from living and working in Bangladesh was when I saw a couple of children, who were obviously malnourished and hungry, staring at pictures of delicious food in a glossy magazine they had found in the garbage. One of the children lifted the magazine to her mouth and licked a picture of an ice-cream cone.
We were there to help alleviate hunger and its cause—poverty—but I felt incredibly helpless and useless in the face of such misery. I groaned a lament based on Psalm 145: “Lord, when will you give them their food? Is now not the proper time?”
Since those days in the early 1990s, the number of people who experience hunger and food insecurity has declined as poverty alleviation programs have increased. I am grateful for that and for organizations that have led the charge. But those children still haunt me, as they should, because today hunger is again on the rise. More than 780 million people will go to bed hungry tonight. Each one matters to God. Each one must matter to us.
When I pray for them, as I must, I know that God has called me to be part of the answer to my own prayer.
O God, we lament the reality of poverty and hunger that causes so much suffering among the people you love. We know that each one matters to you. We pray for your mercy in their lives, and we ask that you use us for your purposes. In Christ, Amen.