Saturday, June 13, 2009

Despair or Dependence?

I just read an article in National Geographic about population growth and food production. Basically, the world population is estimated to be about 9 billion by the year 2050 and there are serious concerns about whether or not food production can support that many people. The article goes into depth about past "advances" that have been made especially in grain production which at the time drastically increased production. The only problem with many of these new techniques is the fact that in the long run they damaged the soil so much that production is once again declining. This may seem like a stretch but the article really got me thinking about our dependence on God.
I think that in this day and age there is much emphasis on independence; independence from God and dependence on science and technology. Despair then comes about when science fails to produce the answers we need. I obviously am not implying that science is a bad thing, but there is a time when we must look to higher things.
God desires that we lay all of our troubles, worries and anxieties at His feet. He desires that we trust in Him. We may encounter circumstances or situations which seem impossible, but we must remember that in God all things are possible. Maybe God places these instances in our lives so that when all else seems to fail, we finally turn to Him in complete surrender.
So back to the world population "problem." Imagine what a difference there would be if all the world learned to truly trust in God. That is our mission! Are we not called to spread the Gospel to all the world? Well now we have a global problem with no immediate or obvious answer; a problem that I am sure is leading many people not only to despair, but to death. When this happens, when we can think of nothing to do, there is ALWAYS prayer. This is what God desires. That we turn to Him!! Do not despair. Ever. Our God is good and merciful. Our God is Love. Maybe the answers to the world's problems can only be unlocked once the world has turned to Him. Depend on God. I think it's what He wants.


Laura said...

I wonder how they can predict such a high population when most of the major countries of this world are not even replacing themselves?
Yes, total dependence and trust in God is the answer. It seems to me that He is trying to teach this to those of us who are willing to listen in a very major way right now. Hopefully we will learn quickly.
God Bless.

Amy said...

In theory: If there is an increase in population there should be an increase in job opportunity. More jobs are created as more workers are needed to meet the needs and desires of the public. More entrepreneurs, more jobs created, more health care professionals needed to account for the population, etc.. (you get the idea). Granted this is theory and therefore life doesn’t always fall perfectly. Okay, that’s one idea. Second, I often hear the argument with a growing population America will essentially “run out of room” for everyone. I have also heard statistics (now this was a couple of years ago so don’t quote me) but to the effect that there is enough land in Texas alone to hold the American population, with each citizen occupying approximately one acre of land. Point being, I don’t think we are running out of room for people. Third, why exactly, on a practical level, would we run out of food? We live in a world market! Between our abilities to grow our own food, our extensive export/import market, and our amounts of land this doesn’t equate to me. No, I haven’t done research on this so I could be off but these are my musings. Although not all land and climate is agriculturally sound, it seems that “enough” of it is. Is there a problem of technology, not enough people wanting to farm in our day and age? Well, praise God…we aren’t a dying culture! America has had her share of hardships but as history shows, she manages to recover by the grace of God.
Anyway, this is a long response to say I think you are absolutely right –what a world we would live in with a “fully relying/trusting in God’s infinite wisdom and care.” What kind of world would we live in if all people were open to life as well as open and willing to do exactly as the Lord calls each of us? Can you just imagine the U.S. government implementing a faith and reason mentality?!

Sara said...

The fertility rate in the Middle East has declined 53% from 1965-2007. In Africa, a 31% decline. In Asia, a 59% decline. See

to compare statistics around the world. If God said "Be fruitful and multiply" He must know that our earth can manage. We may have to change our lifestyle here where we love to consume and not re-plenish but we would be better off if we made those kind of changes. When I look back on my life, I wish I had begun to see that sooner.

Marcus Toft said...

Two points that I failed to mention: (1) we are "running out" of food b/c the world consumes more than it produces and (2)the fear of "not enough food" pertains more to third world countries (i.e. Africa) - areas where the population is increasing but the state of living is terrible. Another interesting point that NG made was that in many developing countries, the populations have started to eat more meat, which incidentally is a much more inefficient nutrient-supplier than grain. Plus it takes much more grain just to raise the animals!
The frail infrastructure of many countries also contributes to the problem because governments often fail to distribute food adequately.
And Amy, I don't believe in the "running out of room" theory either. Take a drive through Pennsylvania or New Hampshire and you'll see loads of unsettled land. What could be a problem though is the distribution of that land while at the same time maintaining natural resources and proper respect for said land.
Thanks for the great comments!

Marcus Toft said...

Thanks for the link Sara! Even though the fertility rates have dropped dramatically (apparently good news to tree huggers - the rates are still above replacement levels and therefore populations are still growing. The problem really isn't with the populations though, there are all sorts of factors that contribute: corrupt governments, natural disasters, land abuse, etc... I should also mention that NG did offer signs of hope. One African country gave seeds and fertilizer directly to poor farmers and they were able to reap huge food surpluses with a little help from timely rains (thanks, God!).