Joshua trees grow only in the Mojave Desert, where the annual rainfall averages less than five inches and temperatures range from well below freezing to over 100 degrees Fahrenheit. These stately trees grow and thrive in what appears to be pure rock and sand.
With such a forbidding environment surrounding these forests, it is difficult to imagine anything growing there at all. But despite this harsh environment, the trees grow to a height of between 15 and 40 feet. They have spiky green leaves and beautiful waxy white flowers.
This sign of abundant life in the most austere surroundings has meant a lot to me. The ability of Joshua trees to flourish even in such a harsh setting symbolizes for me what I’ve learned in Christian Science about the nature of God as the divine Love that imparts goodness and peace to all. It is the nature of infinite Love to furnish us with what we need to not only survive, but blossom, even in tough conditions. The practical outcome of Love’s care for its creation is captured in “Science and Health with Key to the Scriptures” by the discoverer of Christian Science, Mary Baker Eddy. It says, “Divine Love always has met and always will meet every human need” (p. 494).
When we look at the world around us, this is not always evident. But I’ve found that prayer based on God’s limitless love helps us see things differently – to the point where what is spiritually true actually does become more evident in our lives.
At one time years ago, I had no money and was completely out of food. It was a pretty desperate situation. But I was learning to trust in God’s care for all creation, including me. As I prayerfully acknowledged God’s unfailing love, I began to feel that love so tangibly that I came to expect that my need would be met. It was, in a most surprising way.
Within hours of my prayers, a friend showed up at my door with two armfuls of groceries. She hadn’t known of my need but explained, “I was shopping and suddenly felt impelled to get you some groceries.” It turned out to be more than enough to tide me over until needed income came in.
While this example may be small compared to other things going on in the world, to me it was a proof that God’s care really is true for everyone. And that is a thought I have cherished for others in praying about situations in our world where there is great need. I have prayed recognizing that divine Love is universal and impartial, caring for all.
One issue that’s been close to my heart lately is the wrenching refugee problem in so many parts of the world. I’ve asked myself, How can I pray for those who have been forced to leave their home? Like the climate and terrain of the Mojave Desert, the new places these individuals find themselves in can be hostile and difficult, especially if refugees face pointed resistance in their new homeland.
As I’ve prayed, I’ve been reminded of what Christ Jesus taught about God’s care for all: “Consider the ravens, for they neither sow nor reap, which have neither storehouse nor barn; and God feeds them. Of how much more value are you than the birds?” (Luke 12:24, New King James Version). As God’s spiritual creation, we are each greatly valued. And with an openness to the spiritual truth that God loves us and provides for all needs, be they large or small, we’re better equipped to discern inspired ideas that come – sometimes out of the blue – about ways to help.
There’s no simple solution to the refugee crisis. But prayer can replace a sense of despair and hopelessness with confidence in the Divine to support the wisdom of those leading humanitarian efforts, bring creative ideas to those in government, and touch hearts near and far to feel a sense of hope and trust in God’s goodness.