After the fires, a ‘still small voice’

Today’s contributor explores the power of God’s limitless love to support, sustain, and empower individuals and communities, even in the face of overwhelming and tragic situations. When we heard about the fires being battled now in California, we immediately thought of this piece, which originally ran during the fires there last fall. Its message is as timely and powerful now as it was then.

Christian Science Perspective audio edition
Loading the player...

As the deadliest wildfire in my home state of California continues to rage, I yearn for those impacted to feel peace, comfort, and safety. I’m also reminded of a favorite Bible passage that meant a lot to me when fires began near my home in Sonoma County last year. It describes the experience of the prophet Elijah:

“And, behold, the Lord passed by, and a great and strong wind rent the mountains, and brake in pieces the rocks before the Lord; but the Lord was not in the wind: and after the wind an earthquake; but the Lord was not in the earthquake: and after the earthquake a fire; but the Lord was not in the fire: and after the fire a still small voice” (I Kings 19:11, 12, King James Version).

The moral of the story seems clear to me: God isn’t responsible for whatever natural disasters might cross our path. This was made all the more evident when Christ Jesus stilled a “great” storm through his confidence in and understanding of God’s grace (see Matthew 8:23-26). But even if a wildfire or other disaster hasn’t been averted, this “still small voice” can help us face the storm of grief and reassure those dealing with loss or despair.

Over the years I’ve come to associate this “voice” with the reminders of God’s unyielding love that I’ve had in some apparently overwhelming situations. I remember hearing this inspiration in 1993 when I was guided safely both into and then out of an evacuation area where I was living at the time, and again in 2007 when a 200,000-acre wildfire burned to within a few yards of my cousin’s back fence. I also heard it as I became aware of what was happening more recently with the fires raging in both northern and southern California. And given that God doesn’t play favorites – “God shows no partiality,” as it says in the Bible (Acts 10:34, English Standard Version) – I feel certain that these reminders are available to anyone, under any circumstance, and that they lead to healing.

In this light, I feel our prayers can contribute to the comfort of those facing hardship. Referring to the uplifted state of mind that reveals the presence and power of divine laws of good, Mary Baker Eddy, the discoverer of Christian Science, writes in “Science and Health with Key to the Scriptures,” “The ‘still, small voice’ of scientific thought reaches over continent and ocean to the globe’s remotest bound” (p. 559). The passage continues, “The inaudible voice of Truth is, to the human mind, ‘as when a lion roareth.’ It is heard in the desert and in dark places of fear.”

Hearing this “voice” can make a difference, helping us to overcome adversity and to see concrete evidence of our Father-Mother God’s enduring care for His, Her, creation.

This isn’t easy when confronting the loss of one’s home or a loved one, but we can begin to understand and accept the spiritual goodness that endures in our lives – the beauty of divine Soul, God, that remains to inspire us; the Christly courage that remains to strengthen us; the divine Love that remains to heal us.

Even those who don’t think of themselves as “praying persons” can be receptive to this “voice” and uplifted by its restorative effects. It only requires an openness to see things from a divinely inspired perspective – a change of thought that serves to support, sustain, and empower both individuals and the communities in which we live.

Adapted from a Christian Science Perspective article published Oct. 24, 2017.

You've read  of  free articles. Subscribe to continue.

Dear Reader,

About a year ago, I happened upon this statement about the Monitor in the Harvard Business Review – under the charming heading of “do things that don’t interest you”:

“Many things that end up” being meaningful, writes social scientist Joseph Grenny, “have come from conference workshops, articles, or online videos that began as a chore and ended with an insight. My work in Kenya, for example, was heavily influenced by a Christian Science Monitor article I had forced myself to read 10 years earlier. Sometimes, we call things ‘boring’ simply because they lie outside the box we are currently in.”

If you were to come up with a punchline to a joke about the Monitor, that would probably be it. We’re seen as being global, fair, insightful, and perhaps a bit too earnest. We’re the bran muffin of journalism.

But you know what? We change lives. And I’m going to argue that we change lives precisely because we force open that too-small box that most human beings think they live in.

The Monitor is a peculiar little publication that’s hard for the world to figure out. We’re run by a church, but we’re not only for church members and we’re not about converting people. We’re known as being fair even as the world becomes as polarized as at any time since the newspaper’s founding in 1908.

We have a mission beyond circulation, we want to bridge divides. We’re about kicking down the door of thought everywhere and saying, “You are bigger and more capable than you realize. And we can prove it.”

If you’re looking for bran muffin journalism, you can subscribe to the Monitor for $15. You’ll get the Monitor Weekly magazine, the Monitor Daily email, and unlimited access to CSMonitor.com.

QR Code to After the fires, a ‘still small voice’
Read this article in
https://www.csmonitor.com/Commentary/A-Christian-Science-Perspective/2018/1113/After-the-fires-a-still-small-voice
QR Code to Subscription page
Start your subscription today
https://www.csmonitor.com/subscribe