Like many people, I’ve heard reports of fleeing Syrian refugees, but one morning the numbers struck home. That week alone, about 28,000 people had packed up whatever they could carry and had left their homes. My town has about that many people, and I suddenly thought, “What would it be like if everyone here had to take whatever they could and leave town?”
It was easy to visualize the clogged streets, the sadness, and the uncertainty about the future. But I needed to get beyond those images – helpful as they were in stirring me to more devoted prayer. I had to understand how God’s loving presence would help those in need.
The Bible gives many accounts of people who left their homes to escape famine or danger. Joseph and Ruth are two. Also, the Israelites, led by Moses, fled from slavery in Egypt in order to gain their freedom from oppression.
In each of these cases, the individuals involved found help through trust in God. God revealed to them how to survive in an unfamiliar or even hostile environment. They were able to obtain provisions and reach safety, and even bettered their lives in unexpected ways. Who, for example, would have thought that Joseph, sold into slavery by his jealous brothers, would become a government official in Egypt? Or that Ruth, a childless widow, would gain a whole new life when she left her homeland to help her mother-in-law? Or that despite many challenges, the Israelites would be sustained until they reached the Promised Land?
These hopeful outcomes strengthen my prayers for today’s refugees. I’ve found inspiration in this passage from the Bible: “God is our refuge and strength, a very present help in trouble. Therefore will not we fear, though the earth be removed, and though the mountains be carried into the midst of the sea" (Psalms 46:1, 2). I’ve turned often to this passage for help in times of trouble, and also in prayer for others. It reminds me that the same God who helped those biblical travelers can guide today’s refugees and bless those who are helping them.
In her writings, Mary Baker Eddy, the discoverer of Christian Science, often speaks of trust in prayer. In one letter, she writes, “Of this we may be sure: that thoughts winged with peace and love breathe a silent benediction over all the earth, cooperate with the divine power, and brood unconsciously o’er the work of His hand” (“Miscellaneous Writings 1883-1896,” p. 152).
Each of us can let prayer wing our thoughts with hope for peace in Syria and the surrounding countries. We can trust divine Love’s ability to meet the needs of refugees from the civil war, and to reveal answers that heal and bless all. Prayer brings the power of God, who is everyone’s true Father and Mother, to bear on each situation. Knowing that God is the one divine Mind, as Christian Science teaches, encourages trust that each individual will be cared for.
God’s promises have been proved time and again throughout history. Through our prayers, we can help bring forth evidence that they are well able to meet the world’s needs today.