The Greek debt crisis and God's reign

A Christian Science perspective.

At first sight, the Greek debt crisis appears to be an insurmountable problem. The country currently has an external debt of some €340 billion (US$490 billion) and appears hostage to supranational institutions that have required draconian changes to the Greek economy as the price of a bailout and providing further support. The austerity measures needed to get the books balanced require cuts of such magnitude in salaries and benefits that Greeks have descended into the street to voice their discontent, often violently.

Many commentators have pointed out that the Greeks have simply been presented with the bill for excessive spending in the past, overbudget costs for the Olympic Games, and in deceiving the markets over the true level of their debt. While these elements may be true, these are not decisions that were taken by the Greek citizens.

Given the magnitude of the problems, a solution through prayer may at first seem totally implausible. But the Bible offers examples of others who were totally up against the wall and were helped by God. For instance, not long after the children of Israel thought they were free from enslavement in Egypt, they were confronted with the awesome and terrifying forces of Pharaoh – just as they got to the Red Sea. With Pharaoh’s army behind them and the sea in front of them, it looked as if there was no way out.

Moses appealed to God’s power, which proved more than sufficient, though the solution was probably not what anyone expected. The Red Sea parted to allow the people to cross safely, and then closed up so the Egyptians couldn’t continue to pursue them.

Can Greece find its way across the “Red Sea” of debt, and come out safe on the other side? Prayer – our prayer – can help make this possible. Evil, any form of inharmony, makes it appear that there is no way out of such troubles. This point of view is erroneous because it leaves God out of the equation and claims evil to be more powerful than good.

To promote a healing result, it’s important for individuals to see there is only one Creator and one creation, and that this creation is in perfect balance. And because there is only one God, one Mind, divine intelligence can guide everyone to a practical solution. We don’t need to accept that chaos and awfulness are part of life, and that there is no God capable of helping. When we pray with full trust in divine Mind, we are actually recognizing God’s law, which is bound up in His perfect creation, and is operating on behalf of those seeking an intelligent response to the crisis. The very recognition of God in this manner also affirms His power. And although we may not have the faintest idea of how that power will operate, our willingness to trust God will pave the way to answers.

Jesus brought God-given authority to his ministry. His admonition was that we should seek the kingdom of God first and expect the addition of everything needful to life. He invited his followers to discover and understand the nature of God rather than be daunted by accepting error.

The textbook of Christian Science, “Science and Health with Key to the Scriptures,” by Mary Baker Eddy, reveals God’s nature. Look at this description: “God is individual, incorporeal. He is divine Principle, Love, the universal cause, the only creator, and there is no other self-existence. He is all-inclusive, and is reflected by all that is real and eternal and by nothing else. He fills all space, and it is impossible to conceive of such omnipresence and individuality except as infinite Spirit or Mind” (p. 331). This all-embracing and all-powerful God provides everyone the wisdom to work toward a good solution to the debt crisis in Greece.

The human mind does, however, have an unfortunate tendency to resist unexpected outcomes (even the parting of the Red Sea!). It argues that if it cannot understand how something is going to happen, then it cannot happen. Our prayers need to discount this deprecation of God’s power. Moses probably didn’t know in advance what the saving solution would be at the Red Sea, but he went forward, trusting in God’s care. An important point of our prayers is to accept that God reigns rather than human circumstances. Whatever emotions we may be feeling about this situation can be set aside so that thoughts and hearts can be open to following God’s guidance. This will enable us to see God’s will “done in earth, as it is in heaven” (Matt. 6:10).

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