By now most people are aware of the international rice shortage that’s effecting the world at large. In many places throughout the country stores and wholesale suppliers have raised the price per bag significantly, and are limiting the amount of rice we can purchase. Fortunately for us, we aren’t huge rice eaters, so I wasn’t too worried about this little crisis. However, last night Sam told me that he’d heard a news report on the quickly rising cost of flour, and how it’s affecting many restaurants and bakeries across the country. He also said that some grocery stores are beginning to put restrictions on the amount of flour you can now purchase. Okay, now my heart’s starting to pump a little harder.
For the past year and a half I’ve been making almost all our own bread products – assorted loaves, rolls, buns, naans, dessert items, etc. With the cost of a 16 ounce loaf of bread over $1.50 in most grocery stores I just can’t afford not to make my own bread. For the cost of one bag of self-rising flour ($1.65 for 5 pounds) I can make 8 (16 ounce) loaves of bread. If grocery stores start rationing flour, we may be in a world of hurt. So, in response to this current wheat shortage I’m going to have to re-evaluate my bread recipe collection and begin using more potato products. Fortunately we still live in a place where growing potatoes is an option.
For me though, more than just the rising costs associated with most grocery products, I’m beginning to wonder if we haven’t started the long, dark and painful road to the end times. Typing that isn’t easy for me. You see, I don’t think of myself as one of these “end times” fanatics who twists and turns every news report on the Middle East into an end times prophesy. I don’t read the book of Revelation, analysing each of John’s visions – trying to fit them into today’s current events. I don’t tolerate the “doom and gloom” preachers who are constantly railing about fire and brimstone falling from heaven; trying to guilt sinners into salvation.
Oh sure I do believe that at some point the Lord is going to return to Earth, bringing judgment with him. And I’m fine with that, since I hope to have been dead long before that. However, what worries me is the time that will lead up to that point.
Revelation 6:5 says, “A loaf of wheat bread or three loaves of barley will cost a day’s pay. And don’t waste the olive oil and wine.”
Now that sounds to me like there will be a lot of hungry people out there. People who are working hard just to eat – literally. I realize that we are not at that point yet here in America. But as Revelation is a book filled with figuratism, how far off are we really? With the amount of personal debt most American families have today, more and more people are choosing to default on their credit cards just to keep from claiming bankruptcy on their mortgages. For some just to keep food on the table they are taking second and third jobs. Many are turning in their fancy leased cars in favor of more economical “cash” cars and/or public transportation options. And unfortunately our housing market is flooded with foreclosures because too many folks found the cycle of debt too difficult to manage any longer.
We are a nation that is built on shifting sand, in a world that is is hanging off the side of a cliff. And even if this isn’t the beginning of the end, I’d bet we are all in for some more hard times ahead. Fortunately for me, both flour and rice freeze well.