The news reports that thousands of people have been killed or injured in the worst earthquake to hit China in 30 years. Those casualties include children in schools that have collapsed. The quake caused widespread damage to the southwestern province of Sichuan and was felt more than 1,200 miles from the epicenter.
Premier Wen Jiabao flew immediately to Sichuan. "Facing disaster," he said, "the most important thing is calm, confidence, courage, and strong leadership.... We will definitely overcome this major disaster" (The Times [London], May 12).
Mr. Wen's confidence is a powerful message to rescuers striving to help those in trouble. Our prayers can back up that confidence and support everyone who is affected – including the helpers – through our understanding that God is present with all of them.
The Bible affirms, "Be strong and of a good courage, fear not ... for the Lord thy God ... will not fail thee, nor forsake thee" (Deut. 31:6). The courage that comes from God is spiritual, based in His ever-present love for each of us, and its influence strengthens us by providing inspired thoughts and the ability to see God's hand guiding each step of the way.
By its very nature, infinite Love has to be present with the people struggling through the earthquake's aftermath, opening their eyes to solutions to problems of access to buildings or resources. Divine Love provides intelligence and wisdom to those seeking to restore public services and to those dealing with environmental issues such as the reported collapse of a chemical plant in Shifang.
Our prayers can reach out to the children caught in the collapsed schools and to their parents. The innocence of these children cannot be lost. No trauma need remain; divine Love can reveal itself in a way that leads to healing. For those in mourning – or fearful on behalf of the injured – Love can, and will, pour out comfort and restorative peace.
Affirming God's present help is more than "thinking nice thoughts." Backing it up is a Science – the laws of God that Jesus devoted his life to teaching and proving. This Science is available to anyone. It operates everywhere and never runs out. Its inherent peace and order help restore peace and order even amid chaos. As Mary Baker Eddy, who discovered Christian Science put it, "Undisturbed amid the jarring testimony of the material senses, Science, still enthroned, is unfolding to mortals the immutable, harmonious, divine Principle, – is unfolding Life and the universe, ever present and eternal" ("Science and Health with Key to the Scriptures," p. 306).
Even now, the peaceful sense of divine law, which can't be touched by an earthquake, and which is always available, can speak to all, calming and giving courage.
One way to find evidence of this law is to look for even the smallest examples of God's care. Evidence of love toward one another is proof of divine Love's presence; each of us is in fact the child of Love. So whenever we love, we are showing forth Love's presence, helping to bless even those we may never meet personally.
The emergency personnel who helped evacuate patients from hospitals and all involved in the rescue effort express this love. No one can look at their faces without seeing their love and strength. Alertness and wisdom have been shown in monitoring vulnerable areas and in the willingness to accept outside help.
Much work remains. But people's expression of courage and calm amid the demands will help bring to light the fact that "Life and the universe [are] ever present and eternal," in China and everywhere else.
[Editor's note: The original version used the wrong name in a second reference to China's premier.]
Adapted from www.spirituality.com.