Refuge for All
WE had hardly entered our hotel room before the telephone began to ring. ``I am a refugee in this country. Your name has been given to me....'' Downstairs, too, several waited to see us. They asked for help in finding jobs and homes, in bringing their families into the country and procuring papers. Many had not eaten for days. Tourists and business people in that city were being asked for help as thousands fled from two neighboring countries. Many volunteer agencies were contributing to the needs of these people as the tide of refugees fleeing political and religious persecution grew daily. Our hearts went out to those who came to us, and we did everything we could to help them. We knew it was not enough and yearned to do more.
As I looked at their faces, I began to pray: ``Dear God, I know that You are divine Love and that You love all Your children. You are the Father of all, and I know You can help them.''
The Bible teaches that God does tenderly care for His children. It describes God as a Shepherd, leading and protecting His flock from danger; supplying their needs even when enemies surround them. One writer of the psalms tells us, ``God is our refuge and strength, a very present help in trouble.''1
The Bible describes man as made in God's image and likeness. This spiritual likeness is complete; it lacks nothing. And this is the true identity of everyone. Although at times fear and deprivation seem overwhelming, the steady prayer of faith, coupled with an understanding of God's great goodness and man's true selfhood, can help to change this bleak picture for the better.
Even though the needs of thousands for food and shelter may seem too great for the resources of agencies and governments, we can pray to understand that every need can be met, because in the spiritual reality of creation, every need is met. And this reality can be brought to light, even if by degrees.
God is unlimited divine Love, the source of good alone. He is the all-knowing Mind, wisely governing and providing, and this truth can be seen as a law in human experience, making God's provision apparent where it is needed. Christ Jesus proved this when a great crowd followed him into ``a desert place belonging to the city called Bethsaida.''2 After a day of walking, listening to Jesus teach, and watching him heal, they were hungry! All that was available was five loaves and a couple of fishes. The crowd numbered about five thousand. After Jesus had prayed, the food was distributed and everyone had enough. There were even twelve baskets of leftovers.
The Discoverer and Founder of Christian Science, Mary Baker Eddy, devoted much of her life to helping those seeking refuge from sickness, sin, and sorrow. She says: ``Our heavenly Father never destined mortals who seek for a better country to wander on the shores of time disappointed travellers, tossed to and fro by adverse circumstances, inevitably subject to sin, disease, and death. Divine Love waits and pleads to save mankind -- and awaits with warrant and welcome, grace and glory, the earth-weary and heavy-laden who find and point the path to heaven.''3
We may not all live in a country crowded with refugees. But most city streets contain wanderers looking for employment and homeless seeking shelter. We should help with their practical needs as best we can. Prayer can help even more as we understand God's love and care for all His children.
1Psalms 46:1. 2See Luke 9:10-17. 3Message to The Mother Church for 1902, p. 11.