As a huge winter storm was bearing down on the midsection of the United States, the media continually broadcast urgent warnings to be prepared for the worst. Snow, freezing rain, sleet, ice and high winds were predicted. When such warnings are made, it seems certain that every supermarket, neighborhood grocery and convenience store will be quickly sold out of bread and milk. This buying frenzy is so predictable that it is the subject of jokes and comedy sketches. “What do people do with all that bread and milk?”
We may smile at this humorous and predictable buying surge, yet it illustrates the fragile nature of the food supply for large segments of our population. If supply lines are interrupted or if there is unusual demand, store shelves will quickly be emptied of staple food items. Whether the disruption is caused by natural disaster or some other unforeseen calamity, widespread power outages, fuel shortages, and civil unrest can disrupt food distribution in a wide area affecting millions of people in our modern urban settings. Hunger and deprivation will set in within a very short time.
Under normal circumstances, we don’t think much about our food sources. There is a movement to encourage locally grown, organically produced farm products, but few people farm today. Most people are far removed from food production and food processing. Children may think milk and eggs come in cartons and that meat comes in Styrofoam trays neatly wrapped in plastic. What they are seeing, of course, is the end result of a huge industry involving agriculture, food processing, transportation and distribution. It all works well—until any link in the food chain is broken.
Many third world countries are still dependent on the food produced by subsistence farmers. They are much closer to the brink of hunger on a daily basis as their source of food is less dependable. Yet, as we have seen, urban America and other developed countries are also very vulnerable to food deprivation and hunger.
We should not be surprised by this, since Jesus Christ talked openly about hunger as He instructed his disciples about the end of this age. His disciples asked, “Tell us, when will these things be? And what will be the sign of Your coming, and of the end of the age?” Jesus then gave a list of conditions that they could expect, including, “For nation will rise against nation, and kingdom against kingdom. And there will be famines, pestilences, and earthquakes in various places” (Matthew 24:3, 7).
The Apostle John saw the future in vision in Revelation when he wrote, “And I heard a voice in the midst of the four living creatures saying, “A quart of wheat for a denarius, and three quarts of barley for a denarius; and do not harm the oil and the wine” (Revelation 6:6). This obviously describes conditions of severe food shortages and rationing.
Certainly, everyone should take some precautions and have some food supplies on hand for emergencies. Yet it is difficult to plan for extended periods of wide spread food shortages that will result from the misdeeds and mismanagement of mankind. However, Spirit begotten children of God have a very comforting promise from their heavenly Father. Psalm 37:25 states, “I have been young, and now am old; yet I have not seen the righteous forsaken, nor his descendants begging bread.”
So as we prepare for those events that can disrupt our daily lives, plunging us into situations resulting in acute food shortages, it should bring into sharp focus the seriousness of the Biblical warnings about famine at the end of the age. When these things happen, will you have the sustenance promised to those who obey God?