When our family moved to Taiwan several years ago, I was homeschooling our daughter. Before our move, the first time my husband traveled there, our daughter and I got out the world atlas to find out where he was headed. One of the most striking illustrations of the difference between Taiwan and its largest neighbor, China, is their size. China takes up a lot of space on the world map, and Taiwan is just a teardrop shape, east of China’s shores.
The issues discussed in recent historic meetings that took place between China and Taiwan (the first such meetings since their 1949 split after a civil war) are worthy of the world’s prayer. Nothing of great substance was announced following the meetings – and many think any outcomes will be slow in taking shape – but they will be important, especially after more than 60 years of significant tension between the two countries.
Taiwan sees itself primarily as a de facto independent democracy; China still sees Taiwan as its territory and has made clear that it will respond with military vigor if Taiwan were ever to declare independence.
China benefits from Taiwan’s strong economic relationships with Western countries and companies, the beauty of the island, and the investment that Taiwan has made in China. Taiwan benefits not only from China’s investments in its economy but also from tourism from China since 2008, when the relationship between China and Taiwan began to soften.
In this complex picture, what will be the determining influence for the future of their relationship?
This definition of God is a great foundation as well as springboard for my prayers for improvement in the relationship and for a fair, progressive outcome for both countries: “GOD. The great I AM; the all-knowing, all-seeing, all-acting, all-wise, all-loving, and eternal; Principle; Mind; Soul; Spirit; Life; Truth; Love; all substance; intelligence.” This description of God is from “Science and Health with Key to the Scriptures,” the textbook of Christian Science, by Mary Baker Eddy (p. 587).
Christian Science teaches that trusting in God, divine Love – and humbly praying for divine Love’s guidance – can be a significant support for progress in relationships between people, countries, and cultures. The elements in the relationship between China and Taiwan are complicated, going back hundreds of years. The process of determining the future of either government would involve taking into consideration thousands of details.
To trust an all-knowing God, however, a benevolent, principled, all-powerful Love, is to take a radical, spiritual approach. This would mean trusting the all-acting and all-wise Principle to act lovingly on behalf of all parties. The benefit of leaning on this Principle is that it supports the expectation of a solution that is “very good” – as it says in Genesis 1:31, “And God saw every thing that he had made, and, behold, it was very good.”
A loving God who is “all-acting” must logically be the only source of action. That action must result in an all-wise and all-loving outcome. An all-loving approach must be beneficial in consideration of, for instance, the beauty and individuality of each culture. Living in Taiwan gave me an opportunity to meet both Taiwanese and Chinese nationals, and to learn to appreciate the people and their cultures.
The prevailing thought is that there are so many opportunities on each side for mistrust or for old bad habits to rule. It is comforting and empowering to trust God as divine Truth to influence and reveal any situation that may be misleading, dangerous, or just thoughtless. Trusting God as divine Life can help show the way to the right focus for negotiations regarding the economy, natural resources, and the lives of citizens of both countries. And divine Love can be trusted to support a lively and loving appreciation for each facet of the process of building relations between the two countries.
Trusting God to govern means turning from material sensationalism to relying on Spirit, Soul – the source of all beauty and goodness – to intelligently and lovingly determine the future and affairs of both China and Taiwan. Mrs. Eddy wrote, “Mankind must gravitate from sense to Soul, and human affairs should be governed by Spirit, intelligent good” (“Miscellaneous Writings 1883-1896,” p. 267). The book of Isaiah puts it: “Of the increase of his government and peace there shall be no end ... to order it, and to establish it with judgment and with justice from henceforth even for ever” (Isaiah 9:7).
Leaning on God as the determining and loving power in the relationship between Taiwan and China will reveal ongoing goodness for both countries.