“Expect larger and more violent wildfires – this is the new normal.” In the state of California where I live, we’ve heard this message widely broadcast over the past year.
As if on cue, a large fire recently broke out in a national forest near my home. Because I live in a heavily populated area with drought conditions that have persisted for several years, concern was palpable. In fact, thousands of residents were put under mandatory evacuation orders.
For several days I watched the news (and the smoky skies) constantly – it was almost as though I was hypnotized. On the fourth day or so of this inferno I recognized I had a choice: I could be swept along by the collective fear and devastating predictions, or I could consciously withdraw my thinking from the fearful picture of impending destruction and loss, and instead open my thought to the God I’ve come to know as only good. I chose to put my trust in God’s care for all of us.
From my study of Christian Science, I’ve learned about the power of prayer based on divine Science, the laws of God, to counteract negative predictions. For me that begins with a deeper look at the nature of reality. And to better understand this reality, I’ve turned to Mary Baker Eddy’s book “Science and Health with Key to the Scriptures,” which explains that reality is spiritual and eternal, governed and controlled by God alone.
My prayers started from the basis that the spiritual universe, where we actually live here and now, is a God-created universe, and it is watched over and protected by God. As I prayed, I could see that since God is all good and all-powerful, the forces of good are supreme and must prevail; the disheartening and dire predictions were without authority. Not that they were meteorologically inaccurate, but they didn’t hold up to the larger truth of the spiritual reality.
Because so many residences were threatened, my prayer went out to those whose homes appeared to be in danger. I saw that the spiritual fact of God’s presence and power ensured that only good could be expressed. This Bible verse resonated with me: “The Lord God omnipotent reigneth” (Revelation 19:6). With that sense of God’s all-powerful nature, I felt my fear disappear, and even though there were images in the media of fires in people’s backyards, I felt an absolute assurance that everyone was safe because God was there and the only true power.
The fire ended up burning only 18 structures – cabins that were located in the canyon of the fire’s origin. Although unfortunate, it was such a far cry from the huge number of homes that had been directly threatened. Undoubtedly, there were many people praying during that week. The result was minimal damage compared to what had been anticipated.
This experience awakened me to our God-given right to pray – and expect results – in the face of any prediction we hear that isn’t in line with what we know to be true about God’s government of His creation. No situation can stop us from entering our spiritual protest and seeing proof of God’s harmonious reality.
So much of today’s news would focus our thoughts on what seems to be unavoidable disaster. But we can choose how we take in this news. We can be lured into accepting predictions of doom, or we can withdraw from collective fear and say “No!” We can insist that one infinite God, good, reigns. Recognizing this spiritual fact empowers us to resist fear and place our confidence in the Divine. This allows us to expect – and experience – the triumph of good.