Although my heart struggles at the latest news report of the war in Somalia, I search for reasons to hope. Women and children of Mogadishu are forced into the wilderness to escape the killing going on in the city while their husbands and fathers are left behind in the fighting.
Since it has been my practice to look for inspiring examples of individuals overcoming struggles where no hope seemed likely, I find the wilderness accounts in the Bible a great source of hope.
For example, Hagar's touching wilderness story (see Genesis 21). When Hagar ran out of water after being forced to wander in the wilderness, she put her son under a bush because she could not bear to watch him die.
I feel such compassion for the suffering women and children of Somalia who are without proper shelter, food, or water. I am tempted to look away to escape the hopeless feeling that overcomes me at such reports.
But I find hope knowing that it was in such a wilderness that the wise voice of divine Love spoke to Hagar, even while she was blinded with sorrow, and guided her thought to a spring of water for herself and her child.
The story of Elijah running for his life from Queen Jezebel also comes to mind (see I Kings 19). In his fear, Elijah escaped into the wilderness and in great distress laid down and prayed to die. Even when Elijah's thought was unclear, fearful, and full of sorrow, God still sent an angel – which I have come to understand as another word for inspiration, or "God's thoughts passing to man" as described in "Science and Health with Key to the Scriptures," by Mary Baker Eddy, who founded this newspaper.
Elijah was provided by the angel with a bit of food. But he still returned to his desire to die before the angel finally touched his thought with such great and impressive encouragement that Elijah finally was able to rise up and continue his journey and to bless many.
A passage from a favorite poem of mine by Mary Baker Eddy reads:
God able is
To raise up seed – in thought
and deed –
To faithful His.
("Poems," p. 79)
This same law and power is at work to raise up in each loved child of God the inspired, saving thought that is needed in every dire wilderness situation. We bystanders in our wilderness of hopelessness, those in the wilderness of war in Mogadishu, and certainly the women and children fleeing into the physical wilderness for safety have the opportunity to receive needed comfort and guidance.
In the face of hopelessness I find encouragement in knowing that God's compelling messages prompt us all to look up. There are answers present in every wilderness situation to sustain those in need.
We may not know the exact answers that will come to each needy circumstance, but to know that a fearful thought can at once be raised up to find answers gives hope, answers that change the hearts of men and women and protect and guide the innocent.
shall guide thee continually,
and satisfy thy soul in drought,
and make fat thy bones:
and thou shalt be
like a watered garden,
and like a spring of water,
whose waters fail not.