In Time of Tragedy, Where Is God?
IN the Bible we are assured, ``Thy mercy, O Lord, is in the heavens; and thy faithfulness reacheth unto the clouds.''1 Yet where was God when a bomb killed innocent people on an airliner? And there is this declaration: ``Thou hast established the earth, and it abideth.''2 Why, then, do devastating earthquakes occur?
And what about the divine promise ``I will contend with him that contendeth with thee, and I will save thy children''?3 Why were young children murdered on a school playground?
We hear of many such tragedies. Is God indifferent to us? Or is there a God at all? Everyone wants answers to such questions.
Many people are finding satisfactory answers as they look higher than the turbulence involved in human emotions. To say that there is no God at all would be a mockery of all the intelligence, love, and comfort we do find in our world. These expressions of goodness indicate that there is a source of good -- a source often called God. Yet we need to look beyond all that our eyes would make us believe about an unreliable God, or a godless world, to find Him.
Christian Science teaches that the true and only God is divine Principle, Love. In Science and Health with Key to the Scriptures, its author, Mary Baker Eddy,4 writes of the divine creator, ``God is everywhere, and nothing apart from Him is present or has power.''5 Infinite, ever-present Love does not permit tragedies of any sort, for that would be contrary to God's very nature as unceasing Life, intelligent Mind, a loving Father-Mother. This is the understanding of God we need to gain and love in order to experience His constant goodness.
How do we know such a God exists? Not through what we physically perceive, for the undependable physical senses would always tell us of life and death, of love and hatred. Really to know God and His loving care we need to look beyond the physical evidence and be willing to let go of the belief that evil is something inescapable and powerful -- no matter how much it appears that way. Instead, we need to open our thought to the truth that Christ Jesus so thoroughly proved: that God, or Life, is good.
Discovering God to be divine Principle, Love, is like discovering a whole new world. It isn't that God is indifferent to us but that we need to understand better His nature as Love and the true nature of His creation as totally spiritual and good. God didn't create man subject to evil and limitation, and it's this very realization that opens the way for a lessening of tragedy in human experience.
God is the divine Principle of all true being, including the actual spiritual identity of everyone. As we individually come to discern this and pray to express more of His love in all the ways we think and act, we align ourselves with Principle. We come under God's protection and find His world to be good.
If we believe that tragedy is natural or even possible in God's creation, He's not forsaking us. In a sense, we're forsaking Him! We're believing in an actual opponent to God -- an opposite called evil, which we believe might strike us at any time. And, in a very fundamental sense, that mistaken belief underlies the tragedies the world so often experiences.
Christ Jesus loved and honored God's perfection and goodness. No physical evidence to the contrary could make him believe in a power or presence apart from God. Obviously, the Master wasn't naive about the awful claims of evil -- his enemies crucified him. Yet his conviction that God, good, is supreme enabled him to triumph in the resurrection. He was conscious of divine Love's allness. As Science and Health says, ``To infinite, ever-present Love, all is Love, and there is no error, no sin, sickness, nor death.''6
Is it possible for us to become so conscious of God's goodness that we gain mastery over evil? Yes, it is, but this perception of things will not come overnight. The tragedies that occur will not fully cease until mankind as a whole gains a deeper conviction that God is good alone. But we can individually help this necessary awakening by more fully yielding our own lives to God's government of man. We can love, praise, trust Him more. Then it may be that a tragedy will be averted because we were on that airplane, living in that place, supervising that schoolyard. Our thoughts and prayers and lives will prove that God is right there.
1Psalms 36:5. 2Psalms 119:90. 3Isaiah 49:25. 4The Discoverer and Founder of Christian Science. 5Science and Health, p. 473. 6Ibid., p. 567.
BIBLE VERSE Ascribe ye greatness unto our God. He is the Rock, his work is perfect: for all his ways are judgment: a God of truth and without iniquity, just and right is he. Deuteronomy 32:3, 4