Hope and Hunger


By Chris McKenna

hope-and-hungerFor the past six days I’ve been fasting from sugar. Now, if you knew me, you would know that this is a REALLY big deal. I consume copious amounts of sugar. Not the “that’s how all youth pastors eat” quantity, but the “I like Sour Patch Kids for breakfast” variety. Excessive by any standard. But, I felt the need for clarity on a couple of questions, so I needed to create space for some significant communion with God.

And, it’s working.

Honestly, I’m constantly hungry, but it’s a hunger that continually reminds me of my God, which is just what I needed. It’s made me wonder how long I could actually do this. It started off as a noble idea, but how long can I stand it? I’ve decided a week is enough. And, although it’s been tough, it’s completely doable because of one thing.


It’s easy to be sacrificial, because I have the hope of a candy bar on day eight.

My wife and I are in the process of catching up on this season’s episodes of The Blacklist. I apologize if the show violates your moral limits, but I like shows that leave me confused so that I have something to think about on a long run. This show does that. On a recent episode, the show’s main character, a Mr. Raymond Redington (played brilliantly by James Spader), was quoting lines from a play. He said, “I am not courageous. Only the poor have courage. Why? Because they are hopeless. To get up every morning… without hope.”

He described the plight of over a billion hungry people on planet earth. I can’t possibly understand what it’s like to be hungry without hope for a meal. Closing my eyes at night, maybe to dream about the meal I didn’t have.

But lacking hope for food compounded by lacking the Hope that Jesus offers seems like the most intense lack of hope possible. Any hopeless earthly reality is reframed when one has hope in Jesus and the restoration he is bringing. If I’m hungry, but have hope in a risen Savior who is preparing a place for me, with a full table, then maybe, just maybe, it eases a bit of the suffering.

Hope. Such a simple word! Yet, the world turns on hope.

Yes, the poor need bread, but they more desperately need “the Bread of life”. Service without the Gospel is just humanitarian charity. It serves a temporary purpose of filing a stomach, but leaves an empty soul.

Every single time we do the Famine, let’s remind our kids a million times that it’s not about the fast. It’s all about Jesus. He’s our only hope. He’s what this world desperately needs.

Oh, and a bag a Skittles wouldn’t hurt either.