From Canada to Brazil and China – and points in between – hydroelectric power has become increasingly important as a provider of clean energy. However, many of the proposed dams face opposition from people who fear that the supply of fish will be diminished by their environmental impact. Disruption of communities has also been a factor, especially in China.
These debates are only one part of discussions about how to get green power. There are so many variables and points to consider that the task sometimes seems overwhelming. But prayer can help communities and individuals cut through the confusion and doubt.
As I was thinking and praying about this situation one night, I was reminded of Nehemiah's work of rebuilding the wall of Jerusalem. This was a massive project that also was deeply threatening to some people, even though many others would be benefited.
What kept Nehemiah going in the face of opposition and even death threats was his conviction of God's care and his reliance on divine guidance. He cherished no ill will toward those who threatened him, but actually turned more steadfastly to God as a result. At one point he wrote: "They all made us afraid, saying, Their hands shall be weakened from the work, that it be not done. Now therefore, O God, strengthen my hands" (Neh. 6:9). This day-to-day reliance on God made it possible for the task to be completed.
In our prayers about the world's energy needs, we also can pray and rely on God's guidance to help our communities. One of the concepts that I've found valuable in praying about situations where there are lots of opinions is that God is the only Mind, and that each of us is Mind's spiritual idea. When we sincerely turn to this one Mind for guidance, it's also useful to understand that Mind's purpose is to unify and harmonize, not to deprive or harm anyone.
This may mean that even praying people will need to open their thoughts to alternate views and discover that their ideas about energy need adjustment. This willingness to change is so important because it frees us from the sometimes-hypnotic grip of human willfulness, which insists that only our solutions are right. This makes one more flexible and open to thinking about problems in fresh ways.
Remaining calm and unbiased in the midst of politically motivated debates and financial pressures for quick solutions isn't always easy. Fear and anger sometimes try to take center stage. But recognizing the true oneness and goodness of Mind, and our nature as Mind's expression, dissipates fear. Mind, being one, isn't at war with itself, nor is it afraid of itself. As ideas in Mind, we don't need to feel enmity toward one another. Rather, we can appreciate the spiritual gifts that each individual can bring to the discussion.
It's valid, however, to ask where the needed resources will come from. Mary Baker Eddy discovered Christian Science in her study of Jesus' life and teachings. In her book "Science and Health with Key to the Scriptures," she explained that God can also be seen as the Soul of existence and the fountain of all good. She wrote, "Soul has infinite resources with which to bless mankind, and happiness would be more readily attained and would be more secure in our keeping, if sought in Soul" (p. 60).
To seek happiness and resources in Soul is to look for spiritual answers to environmental issues such as the ones involving the need for hydroelectric power, instead of fixating on the finite and material energy supplies that we hear about all the time. Willingness to pray for answers through inspiration from the one Mind can reveal new ways to meet our needs. This may come about as better methods for setting up hydroelectric projects, less damaging ways to recover petroleum from oil sands, or a reduction in the amount of energy needed to generate power.
Through all this, we can trust in the same God who took care of Nehemiah, and we can look forward to seeing how He will take care of us. With the one Mind at the helm of thought, intelligent and all-embracing solutions will appear.