The magnitude of the need might seem daunting, but I was certain that others would be praying as well. And I was also certain that our prayers would have an impact. I’ve seen too much evidence of prayer meeting my own immediate needs, and those of others, to doubt its value.
The Bible says, “God is love” (I John 4:16). A God of love – that’s our promise of security, our assurance of abundant care. Coupling this with the Apostle Paul’s insight that nothing, not famine or peril or things present or things to come, or anything else, can separate us from God’s love (see Romans 8:35-39), we have wonderful assurance of God’s ongoing perfect and practical care.
I thought about the Bible story of Hagar (see Genesis 21:14-21). She and her son had been sent away from their home into the desert. They had some food and water, but when the water was used up, Hagar became distraught, sure that her son would die. While weeping, she heard the voice of God with a promise that He would save them. Then God “opened her eyes,” and she saw a well of water. One can assume that both God and the water were there all along, but in her grief and despair, Hagar didn’t know it. The story concludes by saying that both mother and son continued to live and survive in the wilderness.
This account assures me of God’s presence everywhere. In that presence must be all that God is: unconditional, unstoppable, abundant love! This has to be true today as well – both the present abundance of divine Love’s providing for each of us, and the fact of God showing us the “wells” that will meet our needs.
In meeting our needs, God does not actually send us tangible things. But He does send the ideas that are needed. These ideas can, for example, inspire and enable the courage to take new steps. Or they might provide fresh views and creative approaches to use what is already available. There’s always an answer, and God will show it to those needing answers. Recall how God comforted Hagar, quieting her fears. She was able to find the help that was there all along.
There’s also an account of an empty well being filled involving Mary Baker Eddy, the founder of the Monitor. At a time when there had been no rain in Concord, N.H., where she lived, a farmer who delivered milk reported that his cows were going dry. His well was empty. Mrs. Eddy replied, “Oh! if he only knew, Love [God] fills that well” (“Christian Healer, Amplified Edition,” p. 177). The next day, the farmer was amazed that his well was full, even though there had been no rain to fill it. Eddy noted that Love, God, fills every void, meets every need.
This story shows the healing power of one person’s knowing that God is able to take care of all His creation.
Both stories inspire my prayers. God is a God of love – universal, unconditional love. And God is certainly a presence today in our city. So we can all trust His love as a practical, meeting-of-human-need kind of love. Hagar and her son got what they needed to be comforted and to survive, and the farmer had what he needed to continue his business. So despite all the reports of poverty, we can trust this infinite God of love to fill the wells of need today, everywhere.
While there haven’t been any news reports of a lessening of poverty, there has been an increasing sense of hope, as well as evidence of general economic improvement. I will continue to pray, as will others, I am sure.
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