If you travel the I-5, the interstate that runs the length of California from the Oregon to the Mexican border, you'll take in scenes from the toweringly beautiful Mount Shasta in the north, to the flatlands and endless farm fields of the Central Valley, to the coastal plateau in the south, edging the prized beaches and perfect surf at San Onofre. You'll also notice, snaking along next to the interstate for hundreds of miles, the California Aqueduct. This man-made, open-to-the-air canal brings needed water from the northern part of the state to the heavily populated but dry basin in the south.
There is an obstacle, though. The aqueduct runs into a barrier, a range of mountains roughly 80 miles north of Los Angeles. At this point the water is funneled into enormous pipes and huge electric-powered pumps that send millions of gallons up and over the mountains and down into the thirsty southland. In the early days of the California power crisis, there was concern about having enough electricity to keep those pumps running. That appears to be resolved.
But looking at those pumping stations, and reading about the vast amounts of energy needed to move that ocean of water, remind me of an earlier, in some ways parallel, episode. Remember the account of the parting of the Red Sea in the Bible? Talk about the power to move oceans! It's almost unimaginable how much energy would have been needed there. But, of course, you could say ordinary rules didn't apply, because the power employed was divine. According to the Bible, all that power came straight from the Lord God omnipotent.
Maybe one of the practical steps we could all take - in addition to Californians' cutting back on excessive use of electricity - would be to get a clearer understanding of the nature and presence of divine power. To glimpse that it is always available to meet legitimate needs. To realize that God is never hemmed in by limits. Not by limited possibilities or resources or solutions. And because He isn't, we have a spiritual basis on which to challenge limitations in our lives. Even the notion of limited energy.
Think of God as infinite Mind, the source of every right idea, the basis for inspired creative thinking, problem-solving reasoning. And think of this divine source as one we can winningly turn to for answers. The more we attune our consciousness to infinite Mind, in other words, the more we understandingly pray, the more we begin to see solutions at hand where before there appeared to be none.
Reasoning from the starting point of infinite Mind's having infinite resources isn't a license to squander what we have. Rather, it's a shifting of thought away from the premise of finiteness. Especially from the small-minded thinking that shows up as the politicking, blaming, and accusing of others that can so easily take over a discussion and that we too often read about in the news. How much better to arrive at a quiet confidence that good answers are at hand. That the power we need will be found.
To be spiritually precise, the issue of power isn't a case of our demanding it and God's supplying it. It's really a case of God's supplying it and God's demanding that we use it for good purposes - with nothing wasted or misused. In that sense, you could say that both the supply and the demand are God's. And isn't it logical that Mind's demand on its own intelligence, expressed through us, is never excessive, never unattainable? No number of truly legitimate demands or good purposes could ever be too much for an infinitely good God to supply.
These purely spiritual facts do have a practical expression in our daily lives. The need gets met.
Referring to the real source of power, the founder of this newspaper, Mary Baker Eddy, wrote, "...Mind alone enlarges and empowers man through its mandate, - by reason of its demand for and supply of power" ("Science and Health with Key to the Scriptures," pg. 199). That's a great starting point for any prayer aimed at helping to resolve the California energy crunch.
(c) Copyright 2001. The Christian Science Publishing Society