Even though we think we may be going through some pretty tough times with our health, it usually pales in comparison to what other people are going through in other parts of the world. If we live in America, we are blessed that we do not have to suffer severe persecution for Jesus’ sake. Many of those before us have had to pay that price for Christ in times past. There are instances of Christians being covered with pitch and set fire like a torch for Nero. Earlier Christians had molten lead poured on them, had their eyes poked out, had extremities cut off and burned before their eyes, had their hands and feet burned while the rest of their bodies were cooled off with water to make the agony last longer. It is horrible to picture, but sometimes in our own misery we lose sight of the degree to which we are suffering. Thankfully, the Lord has not called us to endure that kind of agony. That in itself is a great blessing.
We, in this country, are extremely blessed, but many do not realize just how much. About 25,000 people in the world die every day from hunger or hunger-related causes. Yet more than one-third of Americans are obese. Food is abundant and readily available. We can get anything we want to eat, almost any time we want it. If we don’t feel like preparing a meal ourselves, we have plenty of options. It is just a matter of deciding what restaurant serves what we desire at that moment in time. In contrast to that, there are people in countries like South Sudan who are literally starving to death because of political conflict in their country. Many people from South Sudan have had to flee to the Nuba mountains to live in caves because of constant bombing. These people try to fill their stomachs with insects, leaves and any animal they can find, like mice, and then eat them whole.
When we face a drought in this country, we dread the fact that food prices are going to rise, and we are probably going to have to cut back on some of our luxuries. When people in Africa face a drought, it means many, many people will die, that one meal a day is a luxury many of them cannot afford. We are blessed.
Are you able to get up every morning and simply turn on a faucet to get warm, fresh, clean water to shower in? Are you fortunate enough to have an indoor toilet to use, not exposed to the elements, where the waste just disappears with a flush to some unseen destination? In the Philippines, families have a toilet system much different from ours. They may be fortunate enough to have a makeshift “commode,” which is basically a hole in the ground with possibly something over it to sit on. After its use they flush it with water from a pail, and the waste material flows to a sort of trench that runs along the outside of their little shack. Consider a family in Cambodia, whose only water source is a muddy river. This is their source of drinking water and is also where they and other animals bathe. About 10,000 people a day die from water-related illnesses because they do not have access to clean water. Safe drinking water is a dream to millions around the world. We are blessed.