Overcoming a Whale of a Problem

A new car resuscitated my spiritual life. That’s right, I’m feeling closer to the Lord these days due to an updated media system in my new Hyundai. (I traded in a 14-year-old Honda, so it was quite the upgrade).

Riding to work at Food for the Hungry each morning, I now listen to the Daily Audio Bible podcasts. We recently finished Job – some of my favorite chapters in all literature, biblical or otherwise. It’s sublime poetry and really shines when it’s read aloud.

Job has complained about God’s treatment of him. There is a lot of complaining and a lot of horrible things happening. Several really whiny friends who are no.help.at.all to poor Job. At the end, God finally answers as only God can, with a rundown of the awesomeness of his own handiwork.

What’s real, what’s not

Job 41 is entirely dedicated to a beast called “Leviathan.” As I listened, I wondered what this Leviathan could be. A whale? A crocodile? An extinct beast we don’t know today? A mythological creature?

And Job reacts:

I know that you can do all things;
    no purpose of yours can be thwarted.”  (Job 42:2, NIV)

And I immediately thought, “That’s it. That’s what matters. Not, is this a crocodile or a whale or a sea-faring dragon breathing fire. What matters, Lord, is that it COULD happen. You are perfectly capable of making this creature if you so desired. That’s the lesson you want me to take away.”

For FH staff working in over 20 countries worldwide, that’s the biggest challenge they face: convincing people beat down by poverty, failure and oppression that God is big enough to help them. Out of nothing, God can make dreams come true.

It starts often with helping them see that they are worthy of God listening to them. So many times I’ve clasped hands in prayer with parents in our fields whose petitions repeated the word “forgotten” over and over. They think even God cannot see them, much less hear them. The fact that FH comes to their forgotten corner of the world, not just once but every day, says, “He hears.”

Think of Job’s astonishment when God talked back. I think that miracle happens daily, worldwide — that mouth-wide-open, heart-pounding realization that it’s true, God is real and wants the best for us.

I believe. What next?

Women reading BibleLike the words from Job 42 gave me a vision of God’s power, the Bible can bring hope and vision to others. FH works with churches and other spiritual leaders (who most often need encouragement themselves) to help make the Word of God accessible. It may mean pastor training, or distributing Bibles, or literacy courses, but it’s part of building the church in the community.

At the same time FH helps people envision what their future could look like:

  • Rural high school students in FH’s Ethiopia program traveled to a university in Addis Ababa, so they could see what’s possible for them if they stay in school.
  • FH routinely begins agriculture programs by planting test fields, where parents watch crops grow without risking their own time and money. They’re trained in improved agricultural methods on test fields and can sample the harvested crops, which are sometimes unfamiliar to them.
  • In Peru, leadership of one of our graduating communities traveled to one of our newest communities on the outskirts of Lima. The experienced group had learned much from FH on urban planning and management from FH, and went to encourage and teach leaders in the new, struggling community.

When you donate to Food for the Hungry, or pray for us when you hear of a need, or sponsor a child, you’re helping people realize anything is possible with God’s power.