A safe return home

Bringing a spiritual perspective to daily life

During My first year out of college, I took a teaching job in a small town on the Ohio River. One weekend when my dad was taking me back to my new home, the news had carried many stories about flooding conditions along the river.

As we were approaching the town, we could see the flood waters surrounding it being held back by a newly built levee. Many people familiar with the town and its history had commented that the new levee would protect that town from ever being flooded again. But as we looked down, the scene was frightening. My dad said emphatically, "If the levee breaks, don't just drown, swim."

My dad was a good father, and I knew he wouldn't have let me get out of the car if he thought that I would be in great danger. He was really supporting my ability to survive difficulties.

I've thought of this many times when I've been tempted to drown in sorrow over some situation, and his words have given me the strength to "swim."

Recently I was very troubled about the refugees who had fled from Darfur, who had escaped the genocide going on in Sudan. A few of them were beginning to return home. Several of those returning had not escaped the rape and murder that had driven them from their homes in the first place.

I thought a lot about the political and religious factions and was gratified when the African Union sent in a few military monitors to help keep the peace. I was encouraged when the United Nations Secretary-General, Kofi Annan, declared the situation the worst current humanitarian crisis, and said that the UN condemned the action or lack of action by the government of Sudan.

It was also encouraging when the Congress of the United States voted unanimously to condemn what it considered to be genocide, instead of ignoring the situation, as I thought it had too often done in the past. But I still felt an overwhelming fear for the few returning refugees who were being attacked by the Janjaweed, the Arab militia that is frequently motivated by racial hatred and religious extremism.

Remembering my experience of going back into that town surrounded by flood waters, I could see that the actions of other nations, and the prayers from around the world, could be likened to the levee that held the waters back from the town. I could trust them.

More important, I could trust each individual refugee to "swim." As children of the one God, each person has what is needed to survive. He or she possesses the intuition to avoid traps and to find paths of protection. God is there, right where others might see danger.

These refugees, whose numbers are over a million, as well as those in other parts of the world, need our prayers, not our pity. The Bible frequently commands trust in God and preaches deliverance. A couple of favorite verses read: "Trust in the Lord with all thine heart; and lean not unto thine own understanding. In all thy ways acknowledge him, and he shall direct thy paths" (Prov. 3:5, 6).

Mary Baker Eddy, in founding this newspaper almost a century ago, placed her trust in God. She knew that news, rightly reported, would be a valuable resource in helping us pray for one another. And her textbook of Christian Science, "Science and Health with Key to the Scriptures," offers assurances that God, Love, does care for everyone, regardless of the situation.

A passage that is a favorite of many readers states: "Divine Love always has met and always will meet every human need ... since to all mankind and in every hour, divine Love supplies all good" (page 494).

Many times a day I find myself acknowledging this fact of divine Love's supply of good reaching all peoples throughout the world.

The "levees" are being built by the caring world community through its condemnation of evil, encouragement of peace talks, and the provision of food and shelter for the temporarily homeless. These refugees, like all refugees, are seeking a safe way home. And because divine Love is meeting their need, they can find a protected path.

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