When mudslides threaten
A Christian Science perspective.
Mudslides have been much in the news of late. Serious rains brought by hurricanes and tropical storms still threaten southern Mexico, though to the relief of many the mud damage in the remote village of Santa Maria Tlahuitoltepec in Oaxaca State was much less than feared. Mudslides in Colombia and threats to Honduras are among other recent events of this nature.
Often these areas are very remote, or they become remote because the mudslides take out bridges, roads, and other infrastructure. This can be a challenge. But God is not bounded by material conditions. Right at this moment, God is present with each individual who needs His care. No one can be cut off from that comfort and love. Each of us, as spiritual ideas of God – of divine Spirit – can feel that divine presence, helping and guiding us. Our conviction of God’s presence can also inform our prayers for those in disaster-struck areas.
Rescue and restoration are eased by prayers that affirm divine Love’s presence despite massive needs or remoteness. Divine Love is an ever-present guide, helping aid workers make intelligent decisions and not become discouraged. In our prayers we can claim the presence of hope for all individuals. Hope gives one strength to go forward in life even in difficult conditions. It keeps us moving forward instead of giving up.
The Bible is a great source of inspiration for prayer. This message from a psalm addresses fear and the need for stability: “The Lord is the strength of my life; of whom shall I be afraid? ... In the time of trouble he shall hide me in his pavilion: ... he shall set me up upon a rock” (Ps. 27:1, 5).
God truly is the source of strength for all people. When they are in trouble, they can turn to the rock of which the psalm speaks – the Christ, Truth, that Jesus taught. This Truth provides a place of stability and safety when one feels overwhelmed by the swirl of events. Jesus’ life made clear that Christ represents God’s love for the man and woman of His creating. The stabilizing knowledge of God’s unending love calms the flood of fear, dismay, and anger.
Even as people begin a rescue process, prayer can insist that God’s hand will guide them. Each one has the strength to do what is needed in order to rescue people, restore order, provide for those in need. Divine wisdom provides angels, or spiritual intuitions, that will keep them safe as they work.
In her book “Unity of Good,” Mary Baker Eddy brought out the reality of God’s goodness and the firm conviction that He never sends evil. She wrote: “God was not in the whirlwind. He is not the blind force of a material universe” (p. 10). God is intelligent Mind, divine Spirit. He is totally separate from destruction and disasters. God is good, and sends only good to us.
Each individual can daily claim goodness and purity as theirs because they are the spiritual ideas of God. This is true for all people, including those in disaster areas. None of us is bound up with material elements. Rather, we exist under God’s care and can never be cut off from His love and protection. This affirmation can reveal new ways to avoid disasters and the best way to restore places and people affected by them.
Just as important is knitting up the social fabric in areas of flooding, mudslides, and related troubles. Parents have lost children; children have lost parents; others have lost other relatives, friends, and fellow workers. Love can heal the grief caused by these broken connections. And Love has practical means of restoring lost homes, employment, and social structure. This passage from a poem by Mary Baker Eddy has been a great help to me over the years. Speaking of the voice of Christ, she wrote: “Mourner, it calls you, – ‘Come to my bosom,/ Love wipes your tears all away’ ” (“Christian Science Hymnal,” No. 298).
Divine Love is a powerful presence. When unleashed, Love is a force for good that is able to eliminate any evil thing that would stand in its way. Under Love’s care, rescue workers gain new strength and insight, the sorrowing find their hearts lifted and their eyes freed from tears. Hope begins to glow more brightly, and spiritual answers come that bring peace.
For a Spanish translation of this article, see The Herald of Christian Science.