News of rain in Cape Town earlier this month made my heart sing. As I read a BBC story about it, I was struck by the statement in the first sentence that the people rejoiced and thanked God (“Drought-hit Cape Town rejoices at rainfall,” Feb. 10, 2018). I understood what they felt, remembering well the drought New England experienced last year, though far less severe than the one South Africa is experiencing.
By summer’s end, our streams and ponds had dried up, endangering the wildlife, and people’s wells had begun to go dry. One day I turned on the faucet to find the water full of silt. According to news reports, this was a sign that a well was almost dry.
I had been praying daily about the drought, but not in the sense that “if I prayed enough” my prayers might change the weather. Rather, Christian Science has shown me that prayer is God-impelled, a result of divine influence: God lifting our thought above material impressions, enabling us to see beyond the material picture to something more – His present, spiritual creation. Despite appearances to the contrary, this spiritual reality makes all the difference in our experience when we understand its substance. For example, a number is an idea. You write down a figure, or see it on a computer screen, but that doesn’t make a number material. Its substance is still the idea behind what you’re seeing.
Similarly, through prayer, God has given us the capacity to know and understand the whole of His creation – including ourselves – as His spiritual ideas, governed by divine Mind (another name for God). It was Christ Jesus’ understanding of creation as wholly spiritual and good that enabled him to heal. He understood God’s spiritual ideas as having actual substance and life, as the present reality of being, despite the material senses’ inability to see this. What Jesus knew, our thought awakens to each time we pray and turn trustingly to God for help. And while a limited material sense of things can’t conceive of creation as spiritual, that can’t keep God from manifesting His goodness practically.
One day when it finally became impossible to bathe or drink the water, I determined not to go to bed that night until what was causing my fear was healed. At its root, it was not really the prospect of a dry well that was causing the fear, but the awful feeling that we’re dependent on material conditions, rather than God, for our well-being. To heal that fear, I needed a better understanding of God, which I knew prayer and Bible study would give me, as the Bible is the story of God’s endless love and care for us.
That night, humble and persistent prayer brought inspiration and even joy. I began to feel more convinced of the realness of God’s love than concerned about the material conditions. I opened to these words in the Christian Science textbook, “Science and Health with Key to the Scriptures” by Monitor founder Mary Baker Eddy: “Creation is ever appearing, and must ever continue to appear from the nature of its inexhaustible source” (p. 507). Suddenly, not only was this passage comforting, but it made sense. Because God is Spirit – that is, infinite – there can never be a point when God’s love or care runs out. Joyfully, I was able to accept the fact that God is the inexhaustible source of good, which no apparent material conditions can limit.
The next day, even though there had been no rain, my husband felt compelled to check our well. When he did, the water level was just below the top. In a few days all the silt was gone. Neither our well nor our neighbors’ ran dry before rains came several weeks later.
Despite all that seems to defy the presence of God, when we turn to Him with all our heart, we can prove our inseparability from His infinite goodness. The fullness of God’s love is just that: full.