I WAS moved by a recent newspaper report about a peasant on the run in his own country. He was fleeing government-backed vigilantes armed by the military to fight a proxy battle against revolutionaries. Yet this man wasn't one of the rebels. He feared the government, the army, the vigilantes, and the rebels. He didn't feel that there was anyone left he could turn to.
I'll probably never know what it's like to feel so completely isolated. But the spiritual pioneers whose lives are recorded in the Bible often did face situations of tremendous isolation and danger. The Scriptures record how they proved time and time again that it is practical to turn to God at such times.
Christ Jesus, most of all, leaned on God confidently and showed how wise such confidence is. Yet Jesus--whose healing works should have earned him the love of the whole world--also had to face the ordeal of being left without any human help or solace. Just before his arrest and crucifixion, John's Gospel records, Jesus told his closest disciples, ``Behold, the hour cometh, yea, is now come, that ye shall be scattered, every man to his own, and shall leave me alone." With absolute conviction the Saviour c ontinued: ``And yet I am not alone, because the Father is with me." These weren't just words. Through his most profound capacity to understand man's eternal being as God's spiritual idea, Jesus proved his own--and our--spiritual unity with God by the resurrection.
It is that Christly conviction of God's divine ever-presence that we each can pray to feel more deeply. Then, even if--for whatever reason--we appear to have nobody left to turn to, we will know that we can turn to God in every need.
The Discoverer and Founder of Christian Science, Mary Baker Eddy, often found herself standing alone by virtue of her radical spiritual convictions. Her writings relate her divinely scientific discovery of the true, spiritual nature of man, who she says is distinct, but inseparable from God, and therefore man is never isolated or solitary. She writes, in her book Science and Health with Key to the Scriptures: ``Man is not absorbed in Deity, and man cannot lose his individuality, for he reflects eternal L ife; nor is he an isolated, solitary idea, for he represents infinite Mind, the sum of all substance."
Eternal Life, or divine Mind, God, is inseparable from man, His representation. It is the material sense of life that would report us as cut off from needed aid and from any refuge to turn to. But the physical senses are entirely incapable of seeing--that is, spiritually perceiving--God. They are unable to hear--spiritually discern--His direction. Instead of turning to God, then, where help can always be found, these finite, physical senses conclude that we are helpless. But this conclusion of helplessne ss or hopelessness is ultimately invalid. In fact, it is often only when all human hopes are destroyed that thought finally inches toward a higher, a spiritual, hope. Then, through spiritual sense--man's true sense--God's ever-presence can be discovered. And whenever we turn to Him in prayer, something of the practical truth comes to light, assuring us that we all impartially do have access to His help. ``God," the Psalmist says, ``is our refuge and strength, a very present help in trouble."
As we learn more of Him as ``a present help, our first--not last--recourse will be God. We can all pray for an increased recognition of our own and all humanity's right and ability to turn for help to help's true source, Deity. We don't need to wonder whom to turn to. We can always turn to God, in prayer!