The hungry can be fed
RECENT reports of suffering and starvation in Africa have deeply moved many of us. Instead of turning a blind or apathetic eye to the unfortunate, the world is beginning to awake to their need with generosity and compassion and to search for ways to help. Aid has been pouring in from people all over the world, and more is being offered. Yet those familiar with Ethiopia and other drought-stricken areas inform us that this hunger emergency may be only the tip of the iceberg. Economic, political, geographical, and environmental conditions seem to have conspired against these innocent people. Must it be that for some there is no hope--no way for their hunger to be met? Christian Science challenges us to consider our viewpoint on this subject. It encourages us to see beyond limited perspectives to the unfailing goodness of God, who does provide for His creation. In the Christian Science textbook, Science and Health with Key to the Scriptures, Mary Baker Eddy1 writes, referring to God: ``In Egypt, it was Mind which saved the Israelites from belief in the plagues. In the wilderness, streams flowed from the rock, and manna fell from the sky.'' 2 Can't we see such evidence of God's care today? Mere human strength and strategy seem to have their limits as we strive to achieve a goal like feeding the hungry. We need something more, and this demand may compel us to turn to God for the strength, resources, insights, and understanding we need. When we turn to God, the boundaries of ``the possible'' are pushed further and further back. ``With God all things are possible,'' 3 Christ Jesus told his disciples. And one time, talking with a parent who was grieving over his son's apparently incurable affliction, Jesus said, ``If thou canst believe, all things are possible to him that believeth.'' 4 The child was healed. Prayerful, enlightened thought is capable of greater vision--indeed, a different kind of vision--than the physical senses can provide. Turning to God in prayer, we begin to see as possible things that previously seemed impossible to us. Prayer inspires wise action, which leads to more prayer and in turn inspires more effective action. In a very profound sense, prayer is the greatest contribution, because it can have the effect of magnifying the good that all other contributions make. Prayer leads the way for monetary and other provisions to fulfill their goals more effectively. When our prayer includes an affirmation and realization of God's goodness and allness, we grow in our conviction that His provision for man is governed by His law of truth and love, and that man's well-being is not truly a matter of chance. Human thought is beginning to see that we don't need to accept hunger, disease, and death as inevitable. One relief organization speaks of ``a shift in the wind.'' Isn't a shift of thought what is really needed? A shift toward a higher good? A shift into a greater awareness of God's love for all mankind? All mankind! God's goodness can't be limited, and through prayer the limits will continue to be pushed back in individual thought and in human thought collectively. Prayer has an immediate effect. There is no reason we should expect that the answer to prayer takes time. It does take our devotion, however. Mrs. Eddy writes encouragingly, ``The devotion of thought to an honest achievement makes the achievement possible.'' 5 Every child, man, and woman is in truth beloved of God--unspeakably precious. God's love is always present and omnipotent. Therefore whatever would oppose His love has no actual power or legitimacy. Devotedly sticking with these spiritual facts constitutes effective prayer. A prayer that can result in breaking barriers of limitation, in removing the conditions that create hunger. ``With God all things are possible.'' 1 The Discoverer and Founder of Christian Science. 2 Science and Health, p. 133. 3 Matthew 19:26. 4 Mark 9:23. 5 Science and Health, p. 199.