In Sudan a woman and her four children had been hiding in dried up riverbeds and were reduced to eating camel food before fleeing to Chad as refugees from Darfur. In Bangladesh, a country situated on a river delta, everyone is waist-deep in water - and there are still two more months of monsoon season.
Half a world away in my comfortable home, my heart goes out to the innocent people of Darfur and the residents of flooded Bangladesh. How can I possibly help? I can't just turn the page of the newspaper or flip the channel, and leave them there. It's wrong for people to be harassed, scared, raped, killed, and chased from their homes in Darfur. It's wrong that an entire nation should be flooded, and threatened with disease even if the flood recedes.
Indignation welled up in me and caused me to want to know more what God was thinking and doing about His dear people. Surely He in His goodness did not make these evils befall them.
Psalm 56 came to mind: "What time I am afraid, I will trust in thee. In God I will praise his word, in God I have put my trust; I will not fear what flesh can do unto me.... all their thoughts are against me for evil.... When I cry unto thee, then shall mine enemies turn back: this I know; for God is for me." In the past I've found this passage encouraging as I've prayed for resolutions to my own problems. This time I prayed to know what would be helpful for my brothers and sisters on the other side of the world.
I sat still and quietly turned to God, yearning for ideas that would make a difference to these dear members of my human family. Within moments, answers of peace and reassurance began to come just as quietly. The idea that God is good and holds all the power, began to dawn in my consciousness. God is Spirit, infinite, all-pervading good; present right there in Darfur and Bangladesh; a loving God enfolding all His children in His strong embrace from which they cannot be torn and in which they cannot be harmed. Evil can't displace God's love nor remove anyone from His love.
I remembered this passage that I'd read in "Science and Health with Key to the Scriptures" by Mary Baker Eddy, the companion book I study along with the Bible every day: "Moral and spiritual might belong to Spirit, who holds the 'wind in His fists;' and this teaching accords with Science and harmony. In Science, you can have no power opposed to God, and the physical senses must give up their false testimony. Your influence for good depends upon the weight you throw into the right scale. The good you do and embody gives you the only power obtainable. Evil is not power. It is a mockery of strength, which erelong betrays its weakness and falls, never to rise" (page 192).
It surely seems as if awful things are happening, but turning to God and accepting only His power as real begins to put things back into balance. Psalm 23 assures us of God's shepherding qualities and capabilities. It has occurred to me that "He restoreth my soul" indicates that not only does God, divine Love itself, provide His loved ones with a safe home and good food and water, but that He also will restore the strength and gumption to stand up to evil, to fight for what is right. In other words, to "cry unto [Him]" so that "mine enemies turn back."
My prayer and continued cherishing of the idea of Spirit's omnipotence and omnipresence is helping to throw the weight into the right scale. Despite the distance between us, I'm convinced these prayers will bear fruit for these brothers and sisters. I'm continuing to let my thoughts not "be against [them] for evil," but throw the weight "into the right scale.
Hear my cry, O God;
attend unto my prayer.
From the end of the earth
will I cry unto thee,
when my heart is overwhelmed: lead me to the rock
that is higher than I.
For thou hast been a shelter
for me, and a strong tower
from the enemy. I will abide in
thy tabernacle for ever: I will trust
in the covert of thy wings.