Over the years I have seen them many times, but I still feel a quiver of shock when I see them again. The photographs of malnourished World War II POW’s give me chills. There is an incongruity in these skeletons that housed living men. Apparently mercy was in short supply in the POW camps.
As horrifying as that scenario is, it is equally sad to hear of young women who purposefully shrink themselves to the point of resembling POW’s. Bones are covered by a thin layer of muscle and skin without a hint of lurking fat. Although food is available, it is rejected. The facade of control in their life is sustained by a staunch refusal of food.
There is yet another group of people who are starving themselves and they are found in local churches on Sunday mornings. They manage to go from Sunday to Sunday without eating in between. They assume that a once weekly feeding from God’s Word is enough to give them all the nourishment they need for the rigors of life.
Some time ago I was acquainted with a woman who had every appearance of being a well-fed believer. Although I didn’t know her well, I saw her at church with Bible in hand. Warm and friendly, she served in various ways. It was not until she came to me during a hard time, that I saw her in a different light. As we talked together, it became clear that I had misjudged her strength as well as her knowledge of the Word. When I directed her to Scripture, she seemed completely unaware of how it could actually help her in a real-life time of need. I soon realized that she was barely Biblically literate. She seemed to be just a shell, hollow on the inside. I got the sense that if she was dealt one more blow, even a tiny tap, she would shatter and crumble to pieces.
This woman is not alone in her inability to navigate the murky waters of a dark time. Even people who have a lukewarm appreciation for the Bible will turn to it during hard times. I have seen the frantic search of the Bible for a quick bite-size nugget of truth, when a steak dinner is what is needed. To put it another way, a band-aid is applied in trying to staunch a hemorrhage.
Jesus cautioned against this last-minute defense against the hardships of life. (Matthew &:24-27) He tells us to build our lives on a firm foundation, so that when the storms come there is a stability in our lives. How do we know if we are building on a foundation of rock or one of sand? Jesus stated it very clearly: “Everyone who hears these words of mine and does them will be like a wise man who built his house on the rock.” Know the Word and be obedient.
Don’t wait until the storms of life are battering you before you pick up the Bible and try to lay down a quick foundation. Prepare today for the storms that will come tomorrow. Spiritual anorexics can be ‘blown and tossed by the wind’, but if you make it your regular practice to eat from God’s Word, you will have the strength and stability to withstand any storm.