According to the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees, there are about 15 million refugees in the world today that are “of concern” to the UNHCR. And there are millions more in the world. Many have been displaced by conflicts in the Middle East.
There have been refugees throughout history. For example, when the Israelites fled from Egypt, they took supplies with them, but eventually they ran out of food and water. At that moment of desperation, God provided them with manna, a wafer-like food, and water that met their needs. Similarly Hagar, the mother of one of Abraham’s sons, was sent into the desert with her son. When their water ran out, she cried out to God for help, and her call was not in vain. Both she and her son were saved (see Genesis 21:9-20).
Our prayers can affirm the reality of God’s help and wisdom for all refugees. Each one, because of his or her unbreakable relationship to God, has such spiritual resources, which can never be taken away, even in a very alien place. No one can truly be cut off from God’s goodness.
In our prayers for them, we can insist that the same God who helped Hagar, the Israelites, and other biblical refugees is still present, still able to save. Christ Jesus lived and proved the power of God to heal and even to save from death itself. Some believe that power was present only during biblical times, but Mary Baker Eddy, who discovered and founded Christian Science, spent much of her lifetime proving that the ever-present power of God in human lives is real and demonstrable.
In “Science and Health with Key to the Scriptures,” she writes: “Divine Science derives its sanction from the Bible, and the divine origin of Science is demonstrated through the holy influence of Truth in healing sickness and sin. This healing power of Truth must have been far anterior to the period in which Jesus lived. It is as ancient as ‘the Ancient of days.’ It lives through all Life, and extends throughout all space” (p. 146).
And since it “extends throughout all space,” there is no place where people can be cut off from its saving power. Our prayers can insist on this spiritual reality, and individuals can take comfort from these words in Psalms, which speak of God’s ever-presence: “[I]f I make my bed in hell, behold, thou art there. If I take the wings of the morning, and dwell in the uttermost parts of the sea; even there shall thy hand lead me, and thy right hand shall hold me” (139:8-10).
This beautiful biblical statement conveys the power of God’s protecting love for refugees, those helping to get food and other necessities to them, and, really, all people, including ourselves. This love is accessible to all because each of us is loved by God, no matter where we are in the world. This is because, despite material appearances, we are totally spiritual. We express spiritual qualities such as intelligence, strength, honesty, fortitude, beauty. It follows that material elements such as fear, dishonesty, cruelty, and so on have no part in our true nature – or anyone’s nature. The spiritual reality is that each of us is made in the image and likeness of God.
Our prayers can insist on this as the reality for the refugees – and for our own lives as well. Our real individuality is spiritual, not material. The healing power of Christ, which Jesus so ably proved, speaks to us daily of the true idea of man – the pure, perfect spiritual idea that each of us actually is. We can affirm that Christ is also the voice of God to the captive, the lonely, the lost, the desperate. Christ gives strength and intelligence that save.
All of us whose hearts are moved by the plight of the refugees, whatever country they are in, can affirm in prayer that they are children of God, inseparable from God, and that Christ’s power to voice good is able to communicate to them, to open their eyes to present good, and to give them peace. The action of the Christ in human consciousness can also open up inspired solutions to intractable problems as man’s oneness with God becomes more evident.
These answers may come through new insights on the part of national and international officials working with refugees. Or they might come to individual refugees themselves through opportunities and skills they may have. However the solutions come, we can trust that Christ reveals mercy, goodness, and healing. Each individual has access to these blessings.