I visited zimbabwe shortly after its name had been changed from Rhodesia and its government had ceased being part of a colonial empire. Political opinions swirled around us. It was impossible to get a good picture of what was really going on, and even of what would best prosper the people.
Every day, hundreds of men and women could be seen trudging through open fields in the predawn light, and returning many, many hours later. It was not a picture of freedom and prosperity. I yearned to see shorter hours and better working conditions.
But I quickly realized that just analyzing the problems was not the best way that I could help. What this outsider needed to do was to pray - to recognize that every single individual in that country was really made by God to express the good qualities of God. Each one possessed from God the wisdom and ability to play his or her role in establishing a better government.
Since many had hailed this country's new government as a great improvement over colonial rule - and since apparently it was not so for a majority of the people - the question surfaced, What now? In similar situations, people have taken comfort in the biblical statement "I [God] will overturn, overturn, overturn, it: and it shall be no more, until he come whose right it is; and I will give it him" (Ezek. 21:27). While this promise does not indicate a particular person as inheriting the rulership, it does help us to recognize that the power of God is able to establish a more righteous government.
Another statement contains a few succinct words that define most conflicts - national, international, and individual: "Where envying and strife is, there is confusion and every evil work" (James 3:16). Although compared to earlier times there have been fewer killings in the current conflict in Zimbabwe and other nations, the threat of escalation in violence and evil works is very much there. The next verse holds both hope and guidance for our prayers: "But the wisdom that is from above is first pure, then peaceable, gentle, and easy to be entreated, full of mercy and good fruits, without partiality, and without hypocrisy."
Individuals and governments can call on this "wisdom that is from above" to purify human motives, to replace mere human opinion with diviner and more peaceable overviews. That this spiritual wisdom is without partiality is particularly inspiring. Inequities have no ultimate power, because they aren't from the divine Mind, the source of real power.
"The wisdom from above" comes to light through prayer. It excludes hypocrisy as well as partiality. It exposes and overturns those political systems that do not promote a universal good. Overturnings, while not particularly pleasant in themselves, can and must be guided by a higher wisdom, where all that is unequal and not supportive of human rights is corrected.
Thoughtful prayer enables both individuals and nations to exercise greater moral control. As individuals throughout the world like you and me advance in our desire to express more of the qualities of God in daily life, we can expect better governments.
When founding this newspaper, Mary Baker Eddy provided, among other things, an avenue for the plight of the world's disadvantaged to reach the hearts of those who pray. She well knew the power of prayer, and knew that it would bring about beneficial overturnings in individuals and in political systems. That the ultimate result would be God's government on earth, there was no doubt. Mrs. Eddy comments on a promise in the biblical book of Revelation: "The Revelator tells us of 'a new heaven and a new earth.' Have you ever pictured this heaven and earth, inhabited by beings under the control of supreme wisdom?" ("Science and Health with Key to the Scriptures," pg. 91).
We can gain a new and spiritual picture of government now, and hold to it until God's wisdom and justice are seen to be supreme.
And my people shall dwell
in a peaceable habitation,
and in sure dwellings, and
in quiet resting places
(c) Copyright 2000. The Christian Science Publishing Society