Pick up any newspaper and you’re likely to find a headline reporting loss of some kind. It might be loss of security or employment, loss of freedom, even the most poignant of all, loss of life. Yet the Scriptures offer another point of view: “[W]hatsoever God doeth, it shall be for ever: nothing can be put to it, nor any thing taken from it” (Ecclesiastes 3:14). Put another way, “[W]hatever God does, that’s the way it’s going to be, always. No addition, no subtraction. God’s done it and that’s it” (“The Message,” Eugene Peterson). The emphasis is clearly on hope, not loss.
Then what shall we do to deal with the discrepancy between the hope offered by that great biblical promise and the tragic losses we see today in world events? Many of us can be “first responders” to disastrous situations only through prayer, but that can be a powerful response when it’s based on the understanding that with God nothing good is lost.
When the disappearance of the Malaysian jetliner broke into the news recently, the whole world needed a beacon of hope. I found such a beacon in the Weekly Bible Lesson offered by the Christian Science Church. Last week’s Lesson emphasized the element of hope in what appeared to be hopeless situations. One example was when the families of David and his people were taken captive and their city was burned. God’s message to David was to pursue. He obeyed and successfully recovered all (see I Samuel, chap. 30). Another example was the Apostle Paul aboard a sinking ship. He was assured by God that no lives would be lost, and they were not (see Acts, chap. 27).
Passages from the Christian Science textbook, “Science and Health with Key to the Scriptures,” by Mary Baker Eddy, are also included in the Bible Lessons. And the powerful message of hope instead of loss was reinforced by numerous passages in Science and Health, such as: “In this [Christian] Science, we discover man in the image and likeness of God. We see that man has never lost his spiritual estate and his eternal harmony” (p. 548). One of the most comforting statements declared that the “reign and rule of universal harmony,... cannot be lost nor remain forever unseen" (p. 208). Inspired by such strong statements of hope, I could unite with others all over the world in hopeful prayer.
A deepening understanding of the hand of God in our lives gives us the incentive to turn to His healing and saving power under even the direst circumstances. Such understanding is far more than mere religious theory. It is, in fact, the power of divine Love strengthening our efforts to confront tragic events with the highest sense of God’s presence with us. There we find comfort and courage.