'Thy will be done'

We often hear people say with resignation, ''Well, I guess it was just God's will,'' imputing to God the responsibility for a particular catastrophe or calamity. Even legal terminology sometimes classifies floods, earthquakes, or erupting volcanoes as ''acts of God.'' It would seem that when human understanding falls short of being able to explain these events, the popular stance is to ascribe them to God, thereby making Deity the scapegoat for the misfortunes of mankind.

But what, actually, is God's will? Is it simply to wreak misfortunes upon us for the purpose of somehow keeping us in line? Does Deity dole out calamities, diseases, sin, and death upon His creation on the one hand, and then, but only in very special instances, turn right around and heal these ills? Not if God is Love, as the Bible teaches.

Aren't catastrophes and diseases the very ''works of the devil,'' n1 which Jesus came to destroy, and which he did destroy through his understanding of the undeviating nature of God as Love, ''with whom is no variableness, neither shadow of turning''? n2Mary Baker Eddy, the Discoverer and Founder of Christian Science, says in Science and Health with Key to the Scriptures, ''The lawgiver, whose lightning palsies or prostrates in death the child at prayer, is not the divine ideal of omnipresent Love.'' n3 Such occurrences would certainly not be acts of the loving and infinitely wise Father of us all, whose tender mercies and relationship to His creation Jesus came to prove.

n1 I John 3:8.

n2 James 1:17.

n3 Science and Health, p. 119.

Christ Jesus said that he had not come into the world to do his own will, but rather to do the will of God, his heavenly Father and the Father of us all. And he demonstrated what this will was by healing the sick and sinful, stilling the tempest, and raising the dead. Moreover, he indicated that his followers would do the same. Indeed, death is referred to by the Apostle Paul, not as the Christian's best friend or as an act of Deity ''taking'' someone, but as ''the last enemy that shall be destroyed.'' n4

n4 I Corinthians 15:26.

It is often believed that God sends us misfortunes in order to bring us closer to Him, since troubles so often force us to turn to Him in prayer, which we might not otherwise do. It is certainly true that we can and should progress spiritually by facing and overcoming adversity through prayer. But to reason that God sends us misfortune is to misunderstand the nature of God. It's somewhat like surmising that, because the farther away we get from the light the greater the darkness we experience, the light must have sent us the darkness in order to compel us to rush back to the light again. It's clear that the light just shines, knowing nothing of the darkness. Just so, the light of our Father's ever-present love never ceases to shine, and by turning to this light of truth as Jesus did, we too can prove, step by step, that the Father's will for His children is good and good alone. In fact, we discover ultimately that man never has been separated from God.

Let's not permit any negative human concept to dim our expectant faith, our clear recognition of the willingness of Deity to bless His creation. We can rejoice that our true selfhood is God's own image, the reflection of limitless good. Because this is the spiritual fact, it is possible for each of us to experience the undeviating, impartial blessings of divine Love. DAILY BIBLE VERSE The word of the Lord is right; and all his works are done in truth. . . . The earth is full of the goodness of the Lord. . . . Our soul waiteth for the Lord: he is our help and our shield. Psalms 33:4, 5, 20

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