It wasn't the first article I'd seen on the devastating African drought, but something about this article hit home. I simply couldn't ignore the misery of my fellowman in Africa anymore. I had to do something. But what?
The article, which happened to be in this newspaper, explained that the drought was entering its fourteenth year, appeared to be self-sustaining, and was spreading relentlessly. ''Expert opinion seems to be that nothing can be done to combat drought except to mend its effects with international aid, food, and crop seeds for stricken nations,'' n1 the article went on to say.
n1 The Christian Science Monitor, January 24, 1984.
As a practical first step, I immediately found out how I could financially support this humanitarian aid. After all, didn't the good Samaritan of Jesus' parable show his love by first meeting the wounded man's bodily needs? But, as a Christian Scientist, I knew this wasn't all I could do.
Christ Jesus also taught us the tremendous power and possibilities of prayer. Love-inspired prayer works. People are proving this every day. Perhaps you've seen it work in your own life in humble ways. Can't we join together in heartfelt prayer about this terrible drought that is afflicting millions of men, women, children, and animals? As Christians, can we really not pray about it consistently until we see healing?
The Bible says, ''The effectual fervent prayer of a righteous man availeth much.'' n2 Even against drought? Yes, because when we heal ourselves of personal ills through enlightened prayer, we are, in effect, demonstrating a divine Principle applicable to every aspect of human existence. This Principle is God, divine Love itself, the tender Father-Mother who works through divine law, not caprice.
n2 James 5:16
Jesus demonstrated that the law of Love not only heals bodily ills but also subdues extremes of weather. When caught in a storm on the Sea of Galilee, he rebuked the wind and wave, saying, ''Peace, be still,'' n3 and the storm was immediately dispersed. Since Jesus always did God's will, this act proves to us that the destructive elements of nature are not in accord with the nature of God. Indeed, we blaspheme God when we call earthquake, hurricane, and so on, ''acts of God.'' God is Love, and Love does not send evil.
n3 Mark 4:39
How, then, can we explain disasters like the African drought? We can't - if by explain one means to somehow reconcile good and evil through rational argument. Christian Science teaches that evil can never be explained or justified as a reality. Evil can only be demonstrated, through healing, to be an unreality, an illusion that God never created.
To ask why God ''allows'' suffering and evil is like asking why the law of mathematics ''allows'' 2 plus 2 to equal 5. The rules of addition don't allow it , but the erring human mind does, until corrected.
Mary Baker Eddy, who discovered and founded Christian Science, writes: ''God is not the so-called ego of evil; for evil, as a supposition, is the father of itself, - of the material world, the flesh, and the devil. From this falsehood arise the self-destroying elements of this world, its unkind forces, its tempests, lightnings, earthquakes, poisons, rabid beasts, fatal reptiles, and mortals.'' n4
n4 Unity of Good, p. 52
When we turn to God in prayer and realize that He is Love and not the author of evil, we correct, in a degree, the illusory, material sense of life. This change of consciousness brings to light something of God's blessed spiritual kingdom, in which there is no sin, suffering, disease, or dying. The result is healing, regeneration, restoration of normalcy.
We can bless others through prayer, if we love enough to take the time to do it. Why should this drought - or any other evil - go on and on? No law of God sustains evil. Rather than doubt God's power to end drought and pacify the elements, shouldn't we try to better understand the scientific reason why ''with God all things are possible''? n5 Prayer motivated by selfless love and based on the spiritual understanding of God makes a difference.
n 5 Matthew 19:26.
DAILY BIBLE VERSE Oh that men would praise the Lord for his goodness, and for his wonderful works to the children of men! . . . He turneth the wilderness into a standing water, and dry ground into watersprings. And there he maketh the hungry to dwell. Psalms 107:31, 35, 36