Prayer in the wake of hurricane Ike
A Christian Science perspective on daily life.
After a storm such as hurricane Ike, how can those affected find safety, calm, and healing?
Prayer to avoid such occurrences, prayer to get through such experiences, and prayer to clean up and fix up after such incidents is on many people's minds. They somehow know, deep down within their hearts, that God is still with each of us, calming, protecting, guiding, and shielding.
The Psalmist certainly felt this way – he must have – when he wrote: "Behold, the eye of the Lord is upon them that fear him, upon them that hope in his mercy; to deliver their soul from death, and to keep them alive in famine. Our soul waiteth for the Lord: he is our help and our shield. For our heart shall rejoice in him, because we have trusted in his holy name. Let thy mercy, O Lord, be upon us, according as we hope in thee" (33:18-22).
The loving "eye of the Lord" is upon each one of us. And even when it appears that God's mercy has somehow failed us – when the winds have blown, and the sea has swallowed the land, and the homes are damaged, and the families separated – we can still feel God's mercy. How? By understanding that divine Love, who is only good and uses His power only for good, does not bring natural disaster, does not command nature to harm His creation, but actually sustains us during such trying times. He is still present in the aftermath, guiding and calming and saving.
Divine Love's mercy, its tenderness, gentleness, and compassion, surround us. And if we look closely enough, quietly enough, prayerfully enough, we see it. We can see Him saving and guiding, helping and shielding.
This was certainly true in Elijah's case. After a storm of a different kind – an intense confrontation with followers of a wicked king – he took refuge in the mountains. Then, a great and strong wind broke the rocks into pieces. This was followed by an earthquake, then a fire. After that, Elijah heard a "still small voice" – God's voice, calming him, directing him, guiding him (see I Kings 19:9-12).
Whether we are seeing the pictures of the destruction Ike caused, or we were directly affected by the storm and are feeling stranded and fearful, turning our thoughts to God will help. We can listen for what His calming voice is telling us to think and do. Praying to hear the message of divine Love's comfort and guidance, we can remember that this same "still small voice" brings deliverance under all conditions. Mary Baker Eddy, who founded Christian Science, wrote in "Science and Health with Key to the Scriptures": "The power of God brings deliverance to the captive. No power can withstand divine Love" (p. 224).
Nothing can stand up against the power of God, not even natural disasters. Gaining this spiritual understanding of God's power lessens our false sense of a power apart from good. Sometimes it may seem as though nature is all-powerful. But Elijah's experience on the mountain disproves this. We don't have to be overpowered by nature, whether we're dealing with a Gulf Coast hurricane, an earthquake in Japan or Dubai, flooding in India, or six inches of rain in west Texas. Nature is not the god we have to bow down to no matter what. And nature's destruction is not a god we have to worship. Rather, we can, like the Psalmist, trust in His holy name. We can say, "Let thy mercy, O Lord, be upon us, according as we hope in thee." Amen.
Thus saith the Lord God,
the Holy One of Israel;
In returning and rest shall ye be saved;
in quietness and in confidence
shall be your strength: Isaiah 30:15