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Previous Challenge Entry
Topic: Hunger (11/08/04)

By Jackie McCauley


Margie was puzzled. Mrs. Clemmons, her Sunday school teacher, had never given a writing assignment before. The class of twenty-five teenagers groaned in unison. "What does hunger mean to you? Answer this question in a short essay – due next Sunday." Then Ms. Clemmons read a passage from Romans 8. Margie thought the familiar passage was comforting. She didn’t know why Ms. Clemmons was teary when she read it aloud. Margie liked to think that nothing could separate her from God’s love. Not even the time she had gone to Tonya Taylor’s party without asking permission last year. Older guys brought beer and Tonya’s parents weren’t home. Worse than the hangover, was disappointing her parents and damaging her witness with her boyfriend, Adam. When he came to Tonya’s house to pick her up after the party, Margie was tipsy and flirty. She was thankful for Adam’s Christian commitment. He had taken her right home, told her parents everything and didn’t speak to her for nearly a month.

Margie forgot about Mrs. Clemmons’ assignment until Saturday afternoon. She had a busy week she reasoned: a test in Algebra II, shopping with her friends, chores, a date with Adam, her favorite television shows, rearranging her clothes to make room for new ones. She had not had time to work on the assignment. Margie pulled out her NIV Bible, said a brief prayer and re-read the passage from Romans 8. Beginning with verse 35, Margie read “Who shall separate us from the love of Christ? Shall trouble or hardship or persecution or famine or nakedness or danger or sword?” Margie read the rest of the chapter slowly. She read Webster’s definition of hunger and she even went without eating supper. Margie asked her dad about the assignment. His advice was to “think outside the box.” He was always saying things like that. What box? He told her a story about a cow that he had when he was a kid. The cow got into the feed bag and ate himself to death, literally.
“Dad, the assignment is about hunger!”
“Yes, the assignment is about hunger, but there are different kinds of hunger.”

Margie thought about that as she began to write.

Ms. Clemmons collected the assignments the next morning. Without giving the name of the author, Ms. Clemmons read all the essays out loud. There were moving essays about starving children in Africa, hunger in America, and divine provision during times of financial difficulties, but Ms. Clemmons got the teary voice again when she read this one by Margie Brown, age 16:

"Webster’s online dictionary defines hunger as a craving or urgent need for food or a specific nutrient. Fortunately, in sixteen years of living, I don’t remember ever feeling physical hunger for longer than the time it takes my mom to fix a sandwich for me. But there is another kind of hunger. This is the hunger I feel.

In God’s Word, the book of Romans tells me that nothing will separate me from Christ’s love for me. But what about my love for Him? My hunger for Him? Shall tests or shopping or friends or chores or money or books or boyfriends or television? All these things and more try to fill my heart so that I don’t know I am starving my soul. A new purse, or new shirt or romance masks a gaping God-sized hole.
Like the cow, left to his own with a feed bag, eating until unable to move, all along happily doing so, oblivious to the danger of his pleasure, each week my diet is the same. I eat three meals every day, spend time with friends, go to school, study, watch television, and go shopping. Yet, I am hungry.

Perhaps I am so filled with the sweets of this world, I do not know that I need the Bread of Life. I only know that I am hungry for something more."

Mrs. Clemmons smiled at Margie and then at the rest of the class. The teenagers were silent as Mrs. Clemmons led them in a prayer of commitment.

After class, Mrs. Clemmons gave Margie a hug and handed her an index card with a scripture neatly printed. Jeremiah 15:16: “When your words came, I ate them; they were my joy and my heart’s delight, for I bear your name, O Lord God Almighty.”
“Margie, God loves you and invites you to eat with Him every day!”
“I know, Mrs. Clemmons, I know. Thanks for the assignment!”

Member Comments
Member Date
Corinne Smelker 11/15/04
Very good - and I liked the teenage perspective, and Maggie certainly, did "think outside the box"!
Cyndy McNaul-Nelson11/17/04
I enjoyed your article. It was well written and cleverly put together through a teenager's viewpoint guided by a teacher. Thanks. cyndy
Tesiri Moweta11/18/04
You couldn't be more right. We should be thankful that we have what we need to satisfy our hunger when the sweets of life wouldn't do.
Keep winning and shining for Jesus.
Deborah Anderson11/19/04
This was nice, Jackie. God bless you.