I was seated at the Giant supermarket when my wife came to me and showed me some French beans. She said the price has doubled. Later she brought to me another two types of vegetable and told me the amount it increased. Yesterday, I also read in the news that some premium petrol has reached the SGD$4 per litre mark. Unheard of in all my thirty years of driving. It seems that prices have increased more than 50% in many cases. Electricity rates have gone up. Transportation costs have gone up. Food prices have gone up. My wife informs me about price increases. She does the grocery and pays the bills. She knows.
I sometimes tell her, “Can you quote Philippians 4: 19 “my God shall supply all your needs” at the end of every update of price increase?” God’s promises need to be mentioned alongside news of inflation. It is an antidote to worry and fear. Faith comes by hearing the word of God.
This inflation looks likely to be set in place for the long haul. Russia’s invasion of Ukraine has affected the world. Pandemic lockdowns have caused disruptions of supply chain distribution and will continue to do so as long as China keeps its zero-covid policy. And not to forget: the GST increase the Singapore government had announced it would implement from 1 January 2023 onwards. It will keep its word.
We are living near the close of this age. The black horse and its rider (symbol of famine or food shortages) with the pair of scales in his hand in the Apocalypse (Rev 6:5,6) reminds us of what is to come. “A quart of wheat for a day’s wages, or three quarts of barley, but don’t lay a finger on the oil and wine”. What can feed only one person can only be bought with a whole day’s wage. Barley would be cheaper but still the amount would not be be enough to feed a whole family. The poor will suffer. Only the rich can afford what was once affordable for the middle income (oil and wine). Cost of living will skyrocket. So will lawlessness. Only the love of many will decrease, will grow cold (Matthew 24:13).
Where does this leave retirees living off the monthly amounts from their CPF retirement savings? If they receive a monthly payout of SGD$1,000 a month, it will be able to buy one half of what it used to be able to buy in goods and services. The current crisis invites us to trust God to be faithful in providing for us. He who feeds the sparrows knows our need. It invites us to live within our modest means and find contentment and joy in Him alone. It invites the well-off to look out for poor who are in need, and to share God’s abundance with them. The church has the opportunity to truly become the community of love Jesus envisioned. May the world see this and say, “How these Christians love one another!”