Monday, October 17, 2011

Can a Christian Starve?

Recently I read the book "Winning by Losing" by Richard Fowler. It covers Biblical paradoxes. What do think about the following on pages 80-81?

Writing to Timothy, Paul admonishes, "Be diligent to present yourself approved to God as a workman who does not need to be ashamed, handling accurately the word of truth" (2 Timothy 2: 15).

Dealing with the question of starvation or any other issue in Scripture, we must first rid ourselves of any biases apart from the illumination given us by the Holy Spirit. Second, we must work diligently in our quest for truth. And third, we need to handle God's word accurately.

Can a Christian ever die of starvation? The answer is definitely yes.

There have been accounts of Christians dying from malnutrition in concentration camps. It has also been documented that a group of missionaries starved to death on a small island when a storm broke their tiny ship to pieces on the rocks. The skeletons of those missionaries were found some years later. Notes they wrote were found, and in them the missionaries gave a day-to-day account of their experience until the last survivor became too weak to write.

So the question emerges; If Christians can die of starvation, why does God allow it to happen? The answer can be obtained from reading the account of Jesus healing the blind man in John 9. When asked "Rabbi, who sinned, this man or his parents, that he should be born blind?" Jesus answered, "It was neither that this man sinned, nor his parents; but it was in order that the works of God might be displayed in him. We must work the works of Him who sent Me, as long as it is day; night is coming, when no man can work" (John 9:2-4).

No one dies by accident. God is sovereign. And any trial, whether it be hunger or sickness, is outlined in God's plan for eternity. As Christians, then, we are admonished to have the faith to believe that what¬ever happens to any of us in this life happens in order that the works of God might be displayed.

That is the faith I saw in the lives of my parents when I was growing up in Central America. On one occasion, with no food on the table and only flour in the cupboard, I recall my parents sitting us down around the table thanking God for what He had provided. Just then there came a knock on the door-and there on the porch sat two bags of groceries! Reading of God's provision is one thing. Experiencing it, however, has given me an unshakable faith in the God who works all things for our good and His glory.

The God who created us never forsakes us. And those believers who have been chosen by Him to endure deprivation in any sense can know a deeper peace and fullness through that deprivation than any sort of peace and fullness the world can offer. The person who can accept the hardest things from the hand of God as well as the easiest is the one whose faith is most honoring to the Lord.

Source: Richard Fowler, Winning By Losing: 11 Biblical Paradoxes That Can Change Your Life, Moody Press, 1986, p. 80-1.