THE cleanup process after the floods in the United States and in Asia and South America will demand much of those who are rebuilding their communities even as they are rebuilding their lives. Even though this will be a time of great activity, it is important to make time for thoughtful reflection and prayer. This will also be a period when individuals and communities can take a fresh look at the policies that so often affect them.
As we pray, it is only natural to think of the hope we can gain from Christ Jesus' parable about the best foundation to build on. The Master contrasted two approaches to building. The one who ignored Jesus' teachings was said to be building on sand. When heavy rains and floods came, this house washed away.
Of the one who was obedient to Jesus' lessons, however, he said, "I will liken him unto a wise man, which built his house upon a rock: and the rain descended, and the floods came, and the winds blew, and beat upon that house; and it fell not: for it was founded upon a rock" (Matthew 7: 24, 25).
If Jesus had been merely speaking about material home-building, the parable would have limited value. But he was talking about something much more profound, and it is this message that can give strength and new direction to all who are affected by floods. The house Jesus was talking about surely must be a metaphor for our lives, for the spiritual outlook we have, the love and joy we express. The house that lacks a spiritual basis--that is built on the shifting sands of greed, personal will, and similar m aterialistic traits--does lose its foundation when the going gets rough. Bitterness, envy, anger, are among the results.
But the individual whose life is built on the rock of Christ, Truth, has a firm foundation that no floodwaters or other disaster can take away: namely, that despite appearances to the contrary, man is spiritual and can never be separated from God.
This spiritual standpoint gives us strength in times of trial because it frees us from the limitations and fears that matter-based thinking would impose. A recognition that life is spiritual also frees us from the belief that things can be done only certain ways or can come only through specific channels. God's goodness, being unlimited, can cut through red tape and delay because the driving force behind it is infinite Love. Divine intelligence can bring to light better safeguards or policies that will truly benefit each of us. And our prayers can prove this to be so.
Mary Baker Eddy, who discovered Christian Science, writes in her book Science and Health with Key to the Scriptures, "The substance, Life, intelligence, Truth, and Love, which constitute Deity, are reflected by His creation; and when we subordinate the false testimony of the corporeal senses to the facts of Science, we shall see this true likeness and reflection everywhere" (p. 516).
Prayer that recognizes the spiritual facts even in the midst of the falling rain--or in slogging through the mud and chaos afterward--enables us to find sure footing on the rock, Christ. Our reliance on the rock grows out of the recognition that creation reflects the stability, intelligence, and order of Deity. As we put these qualities into practice in our lives, limitations that once seemed as solid as rock will begin to fade out as our certainty of God's goodness grows. We will also find that mistake n decisions made in the past don't need to limit our present progress. Through God's love for each of us, we are able to build on the rock that no waters can ever wash away.