Elisha was on a ministerial trip to Gilgal, visiting 100 prophets. The region was gripped by famine. (2 Kings 4:38, NIV) Hunger haunted the people’s eyes. Fathers feared for their families, and mothers mourned their children’s misery. 

When a man came with armloads of bread and some heads of grain, Elisha knew what to do.  

Hunger still preys on families. Elisha’s story touched on a single region. We know hunger spans the globe. During the last two decades, great gains have been made in reducing world hunger. However, in the last few years we have regressed to the brink of an unprecedented hunger crisis.  

The World Food Programme estimates that 345 million people in 82 countries will suffer hunger in 2022. These people face tough and often heart-wrenching decisions in their struggle to put food on the table.  

Impossible Problem Meets God of the Impossible, ADRA Canada

Peter Lorunye Gogong knows these struggles. He lives in Turkana County in northern Kenya, an arid region where people are primarily herders. Peter relied on his animals to feed his family and to sell milk products and animals. At 52, Peter must support 17 children and three wives. The life of a herder is never easy. However, recent years of successive droughts have diminished herds and wasted the surviving animals, reducing their milk production and value on the market. 

Catastrophe struck Peter’s family in 2012. A group of bandits drove his cattle – his only source of livelihood – away. He migrated to a town 50 kilometers away searching for an alternate livelihood. However, the options were few and insufficient. For years, Peter relied on the goodwill of neighbours and government support for survival. Even so, Peter’s family went to sleep hungry, uncertain when their next meal would come. 

Relying on the goodwill of others and turning to government support are only a few ways families cope with hunger. They also reduce the number of meals per day. This can have devastating, lifelong effects on children and pregnant and breastfeeding mothers. Families risk the stressors and predations of debt. Children drop out of school to work. Girls marry far too young to secure some financial assistance through their dowries. Families break apart as members migrate in search of pasture or work. Most distressing, human dignity and rights are abused as families do what they must to survive. 

Impossible Problem Meets God of the Impossible, ADRA Canada

What drives this alarming hunger crisis? The reasons are multiple and entangled. However, the main drivers can be summarized as climate change, conflict, and the COVID-19 pandemic and resultant rising inflation.

The hunger crisis is now and it will only grow worse if we do nothing.  

What can we possibly do to bring relief now while reducing the causes of the problem? It’s tempting to adopt a fatalistic view of the world, a grim resignation that the poor will always be with us and that suffering will only increase as the world draws to an end. 

But when we look at Elisha, we see that he didn’t doubt that he could make a difference. After receiving the gift of food, he commanded his servant, “Give it to the people to eat.”   

His servant was aghast. The gift was certainly generous but it wasn’t enough.  

“How can I set this before a hundred men?” he protested.  

“Give it to the people to eat. For this is what the LORD says: ‘They will eat and have some left over.’”  

The servant finally obeyed. “Then he set it before them, and they ate and had some left over, according to the word of the LORD.” (2 Kings 4:42-44, NIV) 

Impossible Problem Meets God of the Impossible, ADRA Canada

God also tells us to “give to the people to eat.” Like Elisha’s servant, we look at the meagre offering in our hands and doubt. God’s command to feed the hungry seems impossible to obey. But that’s because we’re focusing on the size of the problem. Elisha teaches us to focus on the size of God. Yes, it’s impossible for our scant resources to solve this problem. But we serve the God of wonders who repeatedly performs the impossible. He asks us to do all we can and watch Him do the rest.  

“It is the grace of God on the small portion that makes it all-sufficient,” writes Ellen White. “God’s hand can multiply it a hundred-fold. … By the touch of His hand, He can increase the scanty provision and make it sufficient for all.”

No, it doesn’t make sense. The impossible never does. But we serve an incredible God. He asks us to obey and trust.  

Too often, we content ourselves with saying, “I should obey and trust more….” Rather than opening the door to the “should’s,” let’s instead entertain the “imagine’s.” For example, “Imagine what God will do with my gift! Maybe He will stretch it like the loaves and fishes…” 

In fact, ADRA Canada sees this miracle happen through its partnership with the Canadian Foodgrains Bank (CFGB). At CFGB, our dollars are multiplied, sometimes as many as 10 times. For example, a new project funded by CFGB was launched in Ukraine to reduce hunger caused by the conflict. ADRA Canada contributed $250,000 to the project. Through contributions from CFGB and its members, the project is over $2.5 million!  

With CFGB, we’re tackling world hunger. Through 14 food security projects in Europe, the Middle East, Africa, Asia, and South America, we’re reaching 110,584 people and their families. 

In northern Kenya, our projects are providing immediate humanitarian relief through cash assistance. But we also have an eye for the future by building families’ resilience to changing weather patterns and economic shocks. Herders are learning to reclaim overgrazed and drought-scorched land. Once useless fields are now feeding herds, providing fodder for dry seasons, and increasing families’ income by selling better milk products and healthier animals.  

Impossible Problem Meets God of the Impossible, ADRA Canada

People are also learning to grow their food through kitchen gardens using sustainable technologies that conserve water, nourish the soil, and provide ample harvests from drought-resistant seeds.  

Peter participated in these projects. He met his family’s immediate needs for food, medicine, and other household necessities with humanitarian cash assistance. Though he has not received a formal education, Peter believes in its importance. Therefore, he used some of the cash to put his children in school.  

Peter’s kitchen garden now feeds his large family and earns an income from selling the excess at the market. Peter is confident he can still support his family with his kitchen garden even after the cash assistance stops. 

Through our partnership with CFGB and you, those facing hunger can eat while they work with us to build a stronger, food-secure future.  

World hunger is a dire problem. But let’s not focus only on the size of the problem. Let’s focus on the size of our God! Let’s do all we can and trust God for the rest. Let’s imagine how God is going to work wonders with our gifts to Him. 

“The supply in their hands may seem to fall short of the need to be filled; but in the hands of the Lord, it will prove more than sufficient… The gift brought to Him with thanksgiving and with prayer for His blessing, He will multiply as He multiplied the food given to the sons of the prophets and to the weary multitude.”