In many cases, relief agencies and other groups working to aid those affected by recent hurricanes, earthquakes, and wildfires around the world are facing tough obstacles. Geography, infrastructure, and even partisan politics have been blamed, especially in Puerto Rico.
Beyond donating what one can of money or supplies, I’ve found myself asking, How can I think about this, and what more can I do?
The answer I’ve found most helpful is to gain a clearer understanding of the fact that God, divine Spirit, loves every one of His children equally. God and His spiritual creation are inseparable, so there really is no place where God’s tender care cannot reach or be tangibly felt – including by those who have been hit hardest. A favorite Bible passage of mine says: “For he [God] shall give his angels charge over thee, to keep thee in all thy ways. They shall bear thee up in their hands” (Psalms 91:11, 12).
I’ve experienced myself that prayer is a powerful weapon to overcome fear and frustration. That assures me that everyone can feel God’s love through the divine law of benevolent grace – even in the extreme circumstances of losing loved ones, homes, livelihoods, or their own sense of worth. We can never lose our true, spiritual identity as the sons and daughters of God, made in His image and likeness, and with dominion over whatever would keep us from realizing this (see Genesis 1:26, 27).
Just knowing we have an unbreakable relation to God helps to remove obstacles from the path of helping others. It opens thought to the inspiration that brings solutions. The Monitor’s founder, Mary Baker Eddy, wrote, “There is divine authority for believing in the superiority of spiritual power over material resistance” (“Science and Health with Key to the Scriptures,” p. 134).
I’ve witnessed that divine authority in my own life. One modest example occurred when I developed a harsh, unrelenting cough before I was to give a public talk. On my way to the venue, it became so bad that I thought seriously about canceling.
But after I’d arrived, I found a quiet place alone to pray. I recalled another statement from Science and Health: “The devotion of thought to an honest achievement makes the achievement possible” (p. 199). I realized that my devotion of thought and prayer to expressing God’s goodness in this talk gave me the mental and spiritual authority to rise above this obstacle, to demonstrate my God-given strength and purpose.
I was able to begin the talk with a clear voice and no cough. However, about halfway through, the cough returned with a vengeance. A colleague – also a Christian Scientist – was in the audience, and I knew that she was praying. I paused in my talk, feeling deep gratitude for my colleague’s devotion of thought to this activity as well. I truly felt it bolstering my ability to overcome this obstacle with calm trust in God’s all-power.
In moments, it became clear to me that no illness could ever interfere with what God knows us as: His spiritual, unblemished child. And I finished the talk (and several others on that same trip) without any return of the cough.
While this experience doesn’t compare to the magnitude of obstacles we see around the world, it helped me see that it is so completely natural for God, divine Love, to produce order, and for obstructions to be removed from every right purpose and “honest achievement.” We can trust that persistent prayers will bring more clearly to light that God’s love reaches one and all.