Feeding the world is a bigger concern than ever, as a noose surrounding the production and distribution of crops seems to be tightening. “Food prices are soaring to record levels,” says The New York Times, “threatening many developing countries with mass hunger and political instability” (“The Food Crisis,” Feb. 24). In the United States, food prices are projected to increase up to 4 percent in 2011, a marked spike after a long period of relative stability.
Many factors are seen contributing to the current state of affairs. Bad weather has limited production in many countries, including Russia, Pakistan, Australia, and the US. Developing countries like China have increased their consumption of meat, which has in turn created a higher demand for the grain that feeds livestock. Some countries have hoarded commodities. Coupled with a growing worldwide demand for oil, the unrest in the Middle East has been driving up the price of a barrel of crude. This all adds to the costs of shipping food, even as it diverts the use of grain away from feeding people and into heightened production of biofuels such as ethanol.
The forces in play here are obviously interconnected; no single factor is alone responsible for the growing food crisis, and no one country can shoulder all the responsibility or implement the entire solution. As with so many other issues, collective actions are needed to find lasting solutions.
Whether you are struggling to feed yourself or your family, or motivated by a humanitarian concern for the billions on the planet who struggle to eat on a daily basis, it’s important to find God in the equation. This changes the entire dynamic – resting it on a prayerful basis that begins to counter hopelessness and invites solution-oriented thinking. We can expect prayer to make a difference.
The Holy Bible is filled with accounts of provision for the hungry. A young servant named Joseph, through his inspiration, helped a nation stockpile corn that endured through years of drought, feeding other countries as well. As the book of Exodus shows, the Hebrew people were sustained in the desert wilderness as they fled bondage in search of the Promised Land. Through the enlightened understanding of the prophets Elijah and Elisha, people were fed in times of famine – one widow saw her family sustained at the very brink of starvation, and overnight the people of a desperate city found flour and barley to sell, despite all indications that this was beyond impossible. And the Gospels tell how Jesus multiplied fragments of bread and fish to feed multitudes.
It’s not too much to ask that we see examples of divine provision in this day and age. Mary Baker Eddy discovered Christian Science – the Science of Mind, or God, on which Jesus’ healing ministry was based. And she proved that we can heal in his name, as he promised we would, by living in accord with his teaching, increasing our understanding of God’s all-power, and becoming more and more attuned to the messages of the saving Christ, which Jesus embodied beyond measure.
The very first chapter of Genesis tells that God caused the earth to “bring forth grass, the herb yielding seed, and the fruit tree yielding fruit after his kind, whose seed is in itself” (Verse 11). Christian Science enables one to prove that this pattern of divine sustainability hasn’t broken down but is a fixed fact throughout eternity. God provides for and sustains His creation. This is a powerful reality for today, and understanding it with greater clarity, gives us a weapon with which to help offset current threats of lack and want. Each follower of Christ can, through individual prayer, do his or her part to bless the Earth with healing, which includes demonstrating that God will not withhold from His children any good, needful thing, including proper nourishment.
Because God is the infinite Mind, independent of time and space, our appeals to Him bring freedom from the very restrictions and limitations we see around us. We don’t need to wait for physical, environmental, or economic conditions to change, or for years to pass, in order to pray for the transformative power of the Christ to bring healing answers to any troubling situation. “Jesus required neither cycles of time nor thought in order to mature fitness for perfection and its possibilities,” wrote Mrs. Eddy. “He said that the kingdom of heaven is here, and is included in Mind; that while ye say, There are yet four months, and then cometh the harvest, I say, Look up, not down, for your fields are already white for the harvest; and gather the harvest by mental, not material processes” (“Unity of Good,” pp. 11-12).
Divine power is not mythical. We can and should expect to see it meeting human needs. Through even modest proofs of individuals fed and healed spiritually, we will be contributing drops in the bucket of world hunger prevention.
From an editorial in the Christian Science Sentinel.