Floods and an 'ark' state of thought

A Christian Science perspective on daily life.

From the American Midwest to Burma (Myanmar), China, and India, serious floods are proving to be a major challenge, forcing people to leave their homes and threatening newly planted crops.

Whether or not we live in those areas, we can help through prayer.

There's nothing like prayer to fill thought with the buoyant awareness of God's power to save, support, and sustain His children. Prayer can help us experience Love's unsinkability.

The story of Noah in the Bible tells how he prayed consistently, and it illustrates how he was so aware of the mighty all-presence of God that he heard precise instructions about how to keep safe. And while the Bible indicates that Noah built an actual boat or ark according to God's specifications, the ark also represents a state of buoyant thought. It is unsinkable because it's uplifted by one's awareness of God's overriding government of the universe.

Mary Baker Eddy, the founder of this newspaper, described this state of thought in the Christian Science textbook. It reads, in part: "ARK. Safety; the idea, or reflection, of Truth, proved to be as immortal as its Principle; the understanding of Spirit, destroying belief in matter" ("Science and Health with Key to the Scriptures," p. 581).

A woman experienced the protection and uplifting inspiration of that state of thought during the great flood of 1993 in the midwestern United States. Despite valiant efforts by many volunteers to sandbag, her home was inundated by the muddy waters of the Mississippi River. She, like others living in her village, was tempted to feel helpless and hopeless in the face of loss of property, endless cleanup work, and the general sense of devastation. But prayer kept her thoughts filled with an awareness of God's protecting care throughout the experience.

During this time she cherished this statement from the Bible: "When the enemy shall come in like a flood, the spirit of the Lord shall lift up a standard against him" (Isa. 59:19). She began to realize that the enemy was not so much the floodwaters, but whatever would overwhelm, discourage, or depress thought. She also began to realize that the standard that she could always look to for encouragement, strength, intelligence, safety, peace, and joy was the voice of God. It could not be drowned out because "the Lord on high is mightier than the noise of many waters, yea, than the mighty waves of the sea" (Ps. 93:4).

Another ark-element of thought that was important in keeping her buoyed up was gratitude. She was persistently grateful for every evidence of God's presence in that situation, and she began to see it everywhere. She saw it in the kindness of neighbors and strangers supplying meals and helping move furniture out of the floodwaters. She saw it in the way that people in the village who'd been feuding and not speaking with one another now pulled together in friendly support and encouragement to find solutions to everyone's needs. She saw it as people took turns patrolling in rowboats through the night to prevent looting and to ensure that the pumps kept working. And she even saw it when the waters receded and repairs were made to homes, as her family and many other families took advantage of the rebuilding to make improvements to their homes.

An ark state of thought is certainly what's most needed in times of flooding. It brings alertness about what steps to take to stay safe. It strengthens those providing relief efforts to work beyond their ordinary capacities. It enables neighbors to extend a hand to meet one another's needs. It inspires people to donate money to care for those in need of clothing and shelter.

Whether or not you're threatened right now by flooding, your prayers can help enlarge the ark of collective thought until everyone feels embraced in this mental sanctuary, riding above any overwhelming thoughts of despair. No flood on earth can sink God, and no flood on earth can keep God's creation from feeling His supporting, sustaining care.

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