A spiritual look at rising grain prices

A Christian Science perspective on daily life.

"Overall, in January, consumer food prices were up 4.9 percent in comparison with January 2007. Cereal and baked goods rose 5.5 percent. Some items went up even more: Dairy products increased 12.8 percent and fruits and vegetables 6.1 percent.

"Rising food prices, combined with escalating energy prices and falling home prices, are putting a squeeze on consumers' pocketbooks. A drop in discretionary spending is one reason that economists are increasingly worried about the economy moving into a recession" ("Price of wheat hits record," The Christian Science Monitor Feb. 27).

In a world where hunger is present even in first-world countries, news of rising food prices could seem like yet another example of how hopeless efforts to stop hunger are. And if everything depended on movement of material goods, fixed income or resources, that would be depressing. But there's another side to the story – and that's God's side.

From the very beginning of the Bible, God has provided for His creation – all of it, not just a favored species or a favored few. Over the centuries, and even today, many people have taken this book at its word, and, believing in those promises, have been able to meet their needs, sometimes in unexpected ways. The Bible's accounts provide insights into how to prepare thought to receive God's help and also how to perceive an answer even in the face of daunting conditions.

For instance, a widow had only enough oil and meal left for one last meal for herself and her son, when the prophet Elijah came to her home, asking for food. She explained her situation, but he persisted, promising that if she made him a cake first, there would be more than enough left for her family.

At first glance, it might not have seemed prudent to give away food to a stranger, but she obeyed. And the promise was fulfilled: "The barrel of meal wasted not, neither did the cruse of oil fail, according to the word of the Lord, which he spake by Elijah" (I Kings 17:16). By sharing with the prophet, and believing his promise, the woman gained a deeper understanding of God's provision for everyone.

Similarly, Jesus' life makes clear that when we acknowledge God as the source of all good, as the only power, we have what we need, even when the supplies seem small next to the demand.

Once Jesus was teaching when the disciples realized that the thousands of people who had come to hear him were getting hungry and had little to eat. They asked Jesus to send the people away to find food. Instead, Jesus took what food they had – five loaves and two fish – and blessed it. Then he told the disciples to distribute it to over 5,000 people. The Bible says, "And they did all eat, and were filled: and they took up of the fragments that remained twelve baskets full" (Matt. 14:20).

As these stories show, a crucial part of finding a solution to any lack is to look to God first. Mary Baker Eddy wrote, "And does not this heavenly Parent know and supply the differing needs of the individual mind even as the Scriptures declare He will?" ("Message to The Mother Church for 1901," p. 7). To make Spirit the priority is to find the answers we need.

One result may be greater appreciation of our resources and how to use them more wisely. This could affect the quantities and types of food we eat. Willingness to share food with others through food pantries or in other ways is a possibility. Prayer that affirms God's guidance as a present help will reveal ways that each of us can make a difference.

God who made the stars, the sky, the trees, the birds, has everything under His control. Even the smallest details of our lives are covered. In the essence of God's bountiful, infinite nature, nothing and no one is left off the list.

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