The magnitude 8.8 earthquake that struck Chile on Saturday has killed hundreds and left at least
2 million homeless. While authorities believe the death toll may rise in the days to come, Chile’s preparedness and practical approach are encouraging.
Nevertheless, many Chileans are presently without housing, jobs, and food as a result of the quake. Desperate scenes of people breaking into stores – some out of necessity and others out of greed – clearly illustrate the fear and instability people are feeling. And the concerns are exacerbated by the continuing severe aftershocks.
Our prayers can do much to support efforts of emergency personnel to assist and save. Prayer can strengthen those who are overwhelmed and bring a sense of divine Love’s tender presence, so that their fears are eased. One resource for such prayer is the book of Psalms. It offers wonderful insights into the value of relying on God. This passage speaks of stability, even in the midst of trouble: “From the end of the earth will I cry unto thee [God], when my heart is overwhelmed: lead me to the rock that is higher than I” (Ps. 61:2).
To me, that rock is Christ, the healing power that Jesus manifested during his earthly ministry, and which showed God’s love for all His creation, including men, women, and children. Even now, the reality of God’s love and the divine law that enforces it can become clearer to us and help us provide stability, despite the physical and mental aftershocks people may be feeling. That spiritual law rests on divine Truth and Love. It transcends material conditions. It is present in Chile right now, to provide intelligent direction, peace, and greater confidence in good. It will guide the government and all who are involved in restoring order and peace.
In our prayers for those rendered homeless and jobless, we can recognize the ability of Christ to guide them to solutions and to give them strength, flexibility, wisdom, and love. As the one who immeasurably showed forth the power of Christ to heal and restore, Jesus said specifically, “In my Father’s house are many mansions … I go to prepare a place for you” (John 14:2). That place isn’t determined by matter or material elements. Jesus revealed that the kingdom of heaven is within each one of us. Our home is in God, in infinite Truth and Love, and this is true for the Chilean people also. Each time you or I gain a better understanding of this spiritual fact, we help reveal the needed human solutions.
Another issue we can address in our prayers is how people deal with the memories of what they’ve seen or lost during this time of trouble. Sometimes these concerns seem difficult to put aside. Here, too, the healing power of God’s Christ is present not just to comfort but also to cleanse one’s thought and life of anything suggestive of evil.
In her book “Science and Health with Key to the Scriptures,” Mary Baker Eddy, who discovered Christian Science, noted that spirituality can triumph over evil in every aspect of life. She wrote, “To the physical senses, the strict demands of Christian Science seem peremptory; but mortals are hastening to learn that Life is God, good, and that evil has in reality neither place nor power in the human or the divine economy” (p. 327).
The truth of this statement not only helps remove residues of fear and bad memories from those affected by them. It will also point the way to restoring the Chilean economy. Evil has no right or presence either as a haunting memory or as a devastated economy. Jesus proved that divine Love is fully able to heal all these conditions, and our prayers, declaring the presence of Christ “on the ground,” will reveal the same kinds of practical solutions that Jesus produced during his ministry on earth.
Tragedies such as this earthquake cannot hold back the forward momentum of the nation and the desire for good on behalf of its people. Right now, prayer for Chile’s people can support this spiritual fact and bring an even higher sense of peace and stability to this beautiful country.