The price of oil and the power of prayer
A Christian Science perspective: Insights on how even when circumstances seem out of control, God's provision for each of us does not fail.
Peril or promise – which do we face as the recent jump in oil prices continues to reverberate through the marketplace? Will the fragile economic recovery now under way be derailed because of oil above $100 a barrel? Some experts think so. Or, could the price rise trigger a surge in the development and use of alternative and renewable fuels, such as wind and solar? Other experts think this. Some have been anticipating it for years.
Could prayer help forward a good outcome? An episode from the Bible suggests as much. An Old Testament account tells of an impoverished widow and her son. They had only a jar of flour and a flask of what was probably olive oil. As the mother prepared what was presumably their final meal, the prophet Elijah came across them. Where she saw only reasons for fear, he saw reasons for confidence in God’s provision. Where she saw lack, he saw plenty. Where she saw peril, he evidently glimpsed the divine power that transforms peril into promise. His spiritual insight led to one of the earliest and most encouraging instances of renewable resources revealed and disaster averted.
Both the short-term and longer-term needs were met for the widow, for her son, and for the prophet. The Bible says, “No matter how much they used, there was always plenty left in the containers, just as the Lord had promised” (I Kings 17:16 The Living Bible: Paraphrased).
This promise from God, that His provision does not fail, is for today. Right when circumstances tilt perilously close to sliding out of control, right then God provides enough to meet our needs. Enough what? Enough divine inspiration, intuition, creativity, and problem-solving insight. God both promises and provides enough, and more than enough, of these spiritual qualities. They infuse His angel messages. Those angels – pure thoughts from Him – come our way and point us to practical answers.
Maybe skyrocketing oil prices on one side of the planet have triggered destabilizing circumstances on the other side. Maybe the threat of economic chaos raises its head again. Those angel messages still come through. The presence of God, divine Love, is real, is steadying, is reassuring. The power of God, divine Love, is here, propelling the most inspired ideas to the front of thought. There they can be glimpsed and grasped and put into action.
The understanding of God as the divine Love that meets all needs doesn’t just empower us to survive hard times. It moves us toward better answers. These answers begin to resolve long-standing problems, including problems like the energy crisis.
Monitor founder Mary Baker Eddy saw God’s presence and power as being so consistently reliable that they were, in fact, scientific. That meant no circumstance, no matter how widespread, no matter how seemingly resistant to correction, could undo the Science behind God’s transforming power. Mrs. Eddy once wrote, “The very circumstance, which your suffering sense deems wrathful and afflictive, Love can make an angel entertained unawares” (“Science and Health with Key to the Scriptures,” p. 574).
More and more as one realizes this in prayer, good solutions surface and then go on to prevail.