I remember how you lived in those camps near the border.
Each dawn, life started all over again, and daily activities resumed little by little. If it had rained during the night, deep puddles spotted the ground, which turned into a black, stubborn mud. Groups of kids played, the only ones unconcerned about the future.
Then the whole camp would congregate for the distribution of food. There were new refugees, arriving constantly. They could end up doubling the population. Endless lines of men, women, and children who had lost everything. Did anonymity and adversity rob you of your dignity and hope? No. Having worked with you, having prayed with you, I know that was not the case at all.
You were so much more than thousands, millions, of people who chose to flee (or were forced to flee) from war and massacres, only to live day by day, thanks to somebody else's help. You were the very heirs of God's promises to each one of us. And God had never abandoned you, because He/She had never stopped loving you. I remember one of those promises: "I know the thoughts that I think toward you, saith the Lord, thoughts of peace, and not of evil, to give you an expected end" (Jer. 29:11).
In the very places of war and despair, there was still what God had prepared for you - a different reality. The right to peace. To find your worth. To progress in your lives. No matter what the situation appeared to be, you still had this right. How I prayed, almost without stopping, for you to discover that right, when I saw the misery you were facing!
Circumstances sometimes obliterate what we've built up through much time and effort. But even the worst circumstances have no ultimate power. God does not leave us at the point where tragic events have brought us. This promise from God helped me when I suffered loss in my life: "I will restore to you the years that the locust hath eaten" (Joel 2:25). When I was with you in those refugee camps, I remember the joy that you felt when we talked about never losing hope. The fact remains that God does not leave His/Her children to stagnate or go backward. Our life is never wasted, never a failure, because we are the image and likeness of God - and God is Life! No circumstance can really destroy the good plan that God has for you.
Those are more than just easy words that a person says to calm down. Those are powerful, spiritual facts, good news, that have the power to change individual and national situations. Awakening to this starts right away to replace what we have lost. It even makes us forget the bitterness of difficult years.
In the middle of chaos, I saw how it is possible to discern that God is governing, and to claim this as fact. That's because God's government is within us. When we discover that fact, we can share it with people around us. "Let us learn of the real and eternal, and prepare for the reign of Spirit, the kingdom of heaven, - the reign and rule of universal harmony, which cannot be lost nor remain forever unseen" (Mary Baker Eddy, "Science and Health with Key to the Scriptures," pg. 208).
The goodness and mercy of God are the heritage that accompanies you - even during the darkest days. And no man, woman, or child has ever left their home in God, the place where they're conscious of Love. In our awareness of God, we find the assurance that we're never separated from peace or love or progress. God, our real refuge, has these in abundant reserve for everyone.
I really like what the last part of Psalm 23 in the Bible says: "Surely goodness and mercy shall follow me all the days of my life: and I will dwell in the house of the Lord for ever." As I think of these words, I have you in my heart.
Articles like this are published in 13 different languages in the magazine The Herald of Christian Science.