"All our eggs were in one basket," lamented a Caracas businesswoman, "and now they are all smashed."
The recent turbulent events in Venezuela have brought cycles of hope and despair, occurring at warp speed, along with an increasing viciousness along economic and racial lines.
Finger-pointing, name-calling, and worse uncivil behavior threaten to characterize social interactions. People report greater feelings of unease and express in the media their fears of civil war. Venezuela's insecurity affects more than Venezuelans, since this nation is the world's fourth largest oil producer. Implications are global.
What's the solution? I believe the Scriptures, the inspired Word of God, point the way out, as they have for thousands of years. As I've prayed to know how to think about the situation here, I've realized that two of the many themes found in the Bible are supremely applicable. One is the message of God's government; the other is the message of God's comfort.
"For unto us a child is born," says the book of Isaiah, "unto us a son is given: and the government shall be upon his shoulder: and his name shall be called Wonderful, Counsellor, The mighty God, The everlasting Father, The Prince of Peace. Of the increase of his government and peace there shall be no end, upon the throne of David, and upon his kingdom, to order it, and to establish it with judgment and with justice from henceforth even for ever. The zeal of the Lord of hosts will perform this" (9:6, 7).
God's government increases peace, orders all events, establishes justice forever. Who wouldn't want to live there? It's true that human governments don't always live up to expectations, but God's government does.
One effective, though not always obvious, way to improve human governments is to pray to understand God's government better. This doesn't involve marches, pressure groups, or angry confrontations. It involves us in the quietness of our prayers. Peace is the natural outcome of God's government, and all those who pray to God for peace, through whatever lens of religious experience, have a right to experience that peace.
Another aspect of God's government is the establishment of justice a justice in which no one feels left out.
More verses from Isaiah address this point: "Break forth into joy, sing together, ye waste places of Jerusalem: for the Lord hath comforted his people, he hath redeemed Jerusalem. The Lord hath made bare his holy arm in the eyes of all the nations; and all the ends of the earth shall see the salvation of our God" (52:9, 10).
The joy is felt not just in the upper class or in the middle class, but even in the "waste places," because "all nations" rejoice in God's salvation His eternal unfolding of events. In God's government of peace and justice, no social class is damned to everlasting poverty and misery; no child is left behind; no aspirations are frustrated. All of us are redeemed from the hideous spectre of economic or racial discrimination.
This is the comforting mission of the Christ, to uplift our thinking to see more clearly God's government of peace and justice, and to act accordingly. We may feel this touch to pray more specifically, to express more love, or to lend a helping hand to our brother or sister in need. God's government leads us to the inescapable brotherhood of man, because without that, there will be neither lasting peace nor impartial justice.
Mary Baker Eddy, who founded this newspaper, wrote in "Science and Health with Key to the Scriptures," "One infinite God, good, unifies men and nations; constitutes the brotherhood of man; ends wars; fulfils the Scripture, 'Love thy neighbor as thyself;' annihilates pagan and Christian idolatry, whatever is wrong in social, civil, criminal, political, and religious codes; equalizes the sexes; annuls the curse on man, and leaves nothing that can sin, suffer, be punished or destroyed" (pg. 340).
Praying in this way establishes a solid, spiritual basis for reconciliation. We can lean on God's government and depend on it to have a positive effect in our world. It supports us in our daily activities, comforts us in our distresses, and protects us from violence. We have the right to pray, "Thy kingdom come," and to expect it.