Newspaper article The Christian Science Monitor

Feeding the Hungry ; Bringing a Spiritual Perspective to Daily Life

Newspaper article The Christian Science Monitor

Feeding the Hungry ; Bringing a Spiritual Perspective to Daily Life

Article excerpt

At first, the videotape seemed overwhelming - crowds of dull- eyed, hungry people, crying children with the distended bellies of malnutrition. I was at a meeting where international assistance professionals were presenting the findings of a recent trip.

It now appears that due to the drought in the Horn of Africa, the majority of food crops are considered to have failed, even in areas long regarded as the breadbasket of the region. Perhaps as many as 14 million people face the possibility of starvation. The word famine was certainly on my mind and probably on others' as well.

The magnitude of the situation seemed beyond me. And currently living in Ethiopia, I feel all the more impelled to try to help. For many years I have been accustomed to turning to the Bible and to Mary Baker Eddy's major work, "Science and Health with Key to the Scriptures," as a way of guiding me in prayer. But here I was absolutely stymied. How could my prayer help so many millions of people?

The topic of famine is not unknown in the Bible; in fact, the word appears almost 100 times. Sometimes the Bible refers to several people whose prayer led to inspired solutions, as when Joseph, who occupied an important position in Egypt, was prompted to begin a program to hold back part of each year's harvest from distribution. His prudence saved not only Egypt but also his own people from famine (see Genesis, chapters 41-47). At other times, however, even the Bible refers to famine as an unavoidable catastrophe and sometimes points to God as the cause.

But I have learned that God never sends evil. In fact, God is always the source of good, and this Biblical promise is not empty: "But my God shall supply all your need according to his riches in glory by Christ Jesus" (Phil. 4:19).

Perhaps the key is in how we approach God. If we see Him as a source of chaos or of incomprehensible evil, our own thinking can blind us to a spiritual solution. Perhaps we need to approach God in the same manner as did Jesus, who advised his followers in what has since been called the Sermon on the Mount: "Therefore take no thought, saying, What shall we eat? …

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