Catastrophes: Can We Help?

ALL of us yearn to do something--something quick and tangible-- when news of tragedy comes. But is there anything we can do to help in a far-reaching and lasting way, especially when we're not near the area where help is needed? Yes! We can pray.

Prayer might sound a little contradictory if you've been thinking that disasters are ``acts of God.'' But God doesn't cause both good and evil. He creates neither chaos nor tragedy. Infinite good never created evil. And our loving Father, God, created all that is real.

God is Love, divine Mind, and man is spiritual, made in His image. Man as God's reflection, or image, evidences forth the good that God is. Because God created all, creation itself is only good. This fact points out the illusory nature of evil. Understanding and heeding these facts of spiritual creation heal and annul the effects of disasters. The results of drought, flood, mudslides, earthquakes, tornadoes, and hurricanes have often been healed through prayer. Such healing verifies the immutable fact that God, Love, is the unchanging, creative Principle of all. God ordains nothing but harmony and peace for His cherished child--for you and me. This means that we are not helpless victims of tragedy.

The divine order or law of God governing the universe is always in force. In Science and Health with Key to the Scriptures, the Discoverer of Christian Science, Mary Baker Eddy, explains: ``Accidents are unknown to God, or immortal Mind, and we must leave the mortal basis of belief and unite with the one Mind, in order to change the notion of chance to the proper sense of God's unerring direction and thus bring out harmony.'' The next paragraph continues: ``Under divine Providence there can be no accidents, since there is no room for imperfection in perfection'' (p. 424).

If our lives, or the lives of loved ones, have been uprooted by disaster, the solution lies in leaving ``the mortal basis of belief'' and uniting ``with the one Mind,'' God. No condition is beyond the health-giving, peace-bestowing reign of God. However, we do need to understand God better, thus learning more of our own nature as His reflection.

When we pray in regard to world catastrophes from the basis of the allness of God, good, and the nothingness of evil, our prayers are specific, steadfast affirmations of God's divine provision for all creation. This assurance is based on the Bible's many accounts of the total reversal of conditions that to ordinary view appeared hopeless. Christ Jesus' life and works spring immediately to mind. His certainty of God's allness and goodness enabled him to still storms, feed multitudes, heal the sick, even raise the dead. These actions are often called miracles. In truth they are the normal evidence of the ever-provident creator's all-encompassing love for His creation.

Even if we feel we don't know enough of God and man to pray effectively, the Bible is always available to teach us more of God's creation. Turning to it regularly can be our first step in healing upheaval in the world. This study sweeps out matter-based assumptions depicting man as a material, struggling mortal, and replaces them with the clear, correct facts of man's spiritual being. And because God has created us as His intelligent, responsive, retentive, individual reflection, we already have the ability to understand the Bible's message.

It's natural to put what we're learning into practice right where we are--in our homes, offices, factories, and schools. We certainly don't need to postpone our spiritual growth until disaster strikes! We can start now by praying as we face the little things that make up our day. As we individually control anger, resentment, hatred, and other destructive emotions in our own lives, we'll be contributing to the calming and stabilizing of world thought. When the certainty that God is the fixed, ordered Principle of all creation is firmly established in our understanding, we can go forward with assurance. No longer will we be intimidated by the subtle lies of material thinking that claim random failure or catastrophe is inevitable.

Knowing that man is never outside God's loving care was helpful to me when several family members worked and lived in a country where terrorist activities were going on. I knew that I didn't have to be in that country with them in order to pray to see the universality of God's government. These relatives, as well as their colleagues and others in the area, were protected on several occasions when bombings occurred. God neither creates nor permits error in any form. Man as God made him can never be either an agent or a victim of evil.

Beginning with the smallest events of our lives and seeing God's omnipotence and omnipresence prepare us for whatever larger challenges may come. Armed with a growing understanding of perfect God and His perfect image, man, we are able to contribute to healing the misfortunes the world faces. The book of Ecclesiastes describes a city, besieged and undermanned. Yet in the city was one wise man, ``and he by his wisdom delivered the city'' (9:14, 15). Just think what can happen when we all pray!


Yea, though I walk

through the valley of the shadow of death,

I will fear no evil: for thou art with me;

thy rod and thy staff they comfort me.

Thou preparest a table before me ...

And I will dwell

in the house of the Lord for ever.

Psalms 23:4-6

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