One day when the temperature hit its peak where I work in Paris, the departure board at a major train station indicated that many trains to many towns, including mine, had been canceled. Then a sudden power outage knocked out the screens for departures and track assignments throughout the station, preventing anyone from knowing where the remaining trains were going. Chaos ensued. There seemed to be no staff on hand to answer questions, and audio announcements were unintelligible.
Despite the extreme heat and confusion, I realized I didn’t need to be disturbed. I thought about an account in the Bible, which relates how Jesus fed thousands of people from just a handful of loaves and fish (see Mark 6:30–44). While my own need was so very modest in comparison to that unique act, I still found it helpful to think about how Jesus did this. Just before he started distributing the food, he instructed his disciples to have everyone sit down in groups on green grass (see Mark 6:39).
Various Bible commentaries give different interpretations of Christ Jesus’ instruction, but this is my favorite: Perhaps it was to prepare them to be served. I picture the crowd turning from their fear of being without food, to sitting down and quietly preparing for something remarkable occurring to meet their need.
And something remarkable did occur. Jesus knew there is a divine law of good operating that cannot be blocked or thwarted. He knew that God is all-powerful and only good; a God that eternally cares for all creation, including man. Jesus’ understanding of this divine law or Science of good allowed him to meet human needs in remarkable ways, and everyone was fed.
That same law operates whether we are facing a severe crisis or simply dealing with travel chaos. On the basis of trusting that law I kept calm and expectant of good, rather than dashing left and right to search out a train. The trains on all 27 tracks were unmarked, but I felt led to one of the tracks and sat down on the train parked there. I was sitting on the “green grass” – calmly trusting in the good prepared for me.
It wasn’t till the train departed that I heard an announcement that I was on a high-speed train to a destination far beyond my home, with no indication it was stopping along the way. Concerned, I prayed. Then I again remembered, “Sit down on the green grass,” which reminded me to stay calm and trust in the goodness of God. After about 20 minutes, the train slowed to a stop in the town right next to mine. Upon exiting, a bus pulled in front of me that would pass by my apartment. My trip home was actually reduced to half the normal travel time. That was a very welcome outcome.
Such prayer never stops at the door of our own need, but inspires us to care for others in troubling situations. When any kind of chaos threatens, we can pray to acknowledge the divine law, or Principle, of good, capable of meeting the need. Goodness and harmony are the product of the omnipotent Principle that is God. Understanding the omnipotence of good can bring calm to chaos, guide our steps, and reveal needed solutions.