Zimbabwe on the brink

A Christian Science perspective on daily life.

To review Zimbabwe's trials is heart-wrenching. BBC reported that the country's annual inflation rate is 231 million percent. The government is still under the control of President Robert Mugabe, although a recent riot by the military in the capital, Harare, could be a sign that even they are reaching the end of their patience with his dictatorial rule. People are literally starving. Many are homeless.

Now, a cholera epidemic is spreading through the capital. Doctors don't have enough medicines to treat it, and there's also no water. The government has cut off water supplies because it doesn't have the chemicals needed to purify it. The outbreak has killed at least 484 people. Some sources report figures as high as 800. In the face of this new threat – along with many others – the people of Zimbabwe need our prayers.

From the outside, it seems almost as though Zimbabwe's residents are trapped within an ever-closing circle of misery and disease. But there is a spiritual reality that transcends these conditions. It is the fact that each of us is actually a citizen of God's kingdom, and this kingdom supersedes any other rule.

Speaking of God, the Apostle Paul described spiritual reality in these words: "For in him we live, and move, and have our being; ... For we are also his offspring" (Acts 17:28). This passage makes two points. The first is that we live in the kingdom of divine Spirit, and the reason this is so is because we are the offspring of God. As citizens of God's kingdom, we have a right to experience the presence of Love, Truth, and Life no matter who we are or where we live. And that includes the people of Zimbabwe. We are all the children of God's loving kingdom, where all needs are met.

Our prayers for Zimbabwe can rest on this spiritual fact and on this passage from the Lord's Prayer, which Jesus provided for humanity: "For Thine is the kingdom, and the power, and the glory, forever." No one is trapped in the kingdom of a dictator or of poverty or disease. All are under God's care, and through divine guidance their needs can be met.

Mary Baker Eddy interpreted that passage from the Lord's Prayer in her book "Science and Health with Key to the Scriptures" in this way: "For God is infinite, all-power, all Life, Truth, Love, over all, and All" (p. 17). This interpretation brings out the power and majesty of God and His ever-presence. There is no God-forsaken place where prayer cannot be heard or where it will not make a difference. Each time someone devotes prayer and love to an endeavor or a place in need, that prayer is felt and it lifts some of the burden off those who are struggling with it. Such prayer can also protect people from disease and help those who are sick to get well.

Our prayers can affirm that all people are genuinely spiritual. They are not vulnerable to disease, because their true nature includes purity, contentment, safety, and peace. Darkness, doubt, and oppression have no role in their lives, because God sends only goodness.

These prayers take on an added dimension when we're able to look past news reports of misery and disease to the conviction that right now God is a presence in Harare and the rest of Zimbabwe. We may not be able to outline the specific way He will help those in trouble, but we can in our hearts earnestly declare silently that no one is abandoned by God, because each one is precious in His sight.

Through these prayers, a new mental and spiritual image of Zimbabwe will begin to emerge. Instead of seeing the country in the grip of a brutal dictatorship, we will be recognizing only one kingdom – the kingdom of God – and will be placing Zimbabwe into this kingdom, under the rule of Love. In this kingdom there are no dictators. There is no disease, hunger, nor fear. Each individual is as important as the next, and each one is the son or daughter of the King.

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