Disaster Relief

IN the wake of conflict, flood, hurricane, fire, earthquake, many individuals are facing great losses. Such losses can lead us to ask, What is real? What is lasting? What is secure? Is there anything that is lasting and secure?

Mary Baker Eddy, the Discoverer and Founder of Christian Science, knew what it meant to experience loss. She writes in her book Science and Health with Key to the Scriptures, ``Who, that has felt the perilous beliefs in life, substance, and intelligence separated from God, can say that there is no error of belief?'' (p. 450). She had found from her study of the Bible and especially of Christ Jesus' teachings that existence truly is not material. Reality is spiritual, and all that is real has its source in God. God is ever present, all-powerful, and loving.

This divine Love and its power are lasting and secure. God never changes. His loving provision for His children never fluctuates or stops. His care continues uninterrupted, despite all the evidence to the contrary. These facts apply to our lives here and now.

God's present government has a very real effect on what we experience in our everyday lives. But to find this solid foundation of good, we need to turn expectantly to Him and seek the divine facts. The Bible tells us that God is good and that He is Love. A God of love simply does not ordain or permit devastation and destruction.

Although we may not feel especially loved when possessions and loved ones are taken from us, turning to God is the only way to find the comfort, direction, and supply we need. There are many examples in the Bible of individuals who were able to do this. The Apostle Paul, for example, faced shipwreck, imprisonment, torture, and stoning during his career. He had learned so much about trusting God that he could write, in his second letter to the Corinthians, ``For we know that if our earthly house of this tabernacle were dissolved, we have a building of God, an house not made with hands, eternal in the heavens'' (5:1).

The story of Job also points out that when Job began to view God's glorious power and presence instead of grieving over his loss and pain, he was given great good, exceeding what he'd had before.

Christ Jesus' entire life proved for us that the material view of things is not the reality. The Master healed all kinds of diseases, including blindness, deafness, dumbness, and paralysis. He provided food to a hungry multitude. And he even restored several people to life.

At one time in my life I lost most of my possessions, including my home and car. I also lost, it seemed, my sense that God is good. I felt drowned in fear, discouragement, and despair. This obviously led nowhere. In desperation I turned back to God, and over a period of many months of prayer my assurance that God is always present and is all-powerful good was restored. In small ways I began to see evidence of God's unceasing provision. Eventually, all that I had lost was restored to me, and in greater abundance than before.

God is not vengeful. He loves us, His children. As we strive to see this, to look beyond the loss and destruction materiality is showing us, we find something solid, something that can never be lost. We find our spiritual relationship to God, which meets all our needs and satisfies as nothing else can.

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