In the face of a global pandemic, it can be tempting to feel helpless and hopeless. We might even wonder, Can prayer really help? Yes, it can. Here in India in the midst of what seems to be overwhelming lack, loss, and fear, I’ve found help in the Bible: “Hear my cry, O God; attend unto my prayer. From the end of the earth will I cry unto thee, when my heart is overwhelmed: lead me to the rock that is higher than I” (Psalms 61:1, 2).
Through my study of Christian Science, I’ve learned that God is infinite, all-powerful, ever-present Love. This is the “rock” to which we can all turn and on which we can stand when feeling overwhelmed.
God is the refuge we can go to at any time, where we can shelter in His love for all. God holds us, and everyone, up forever, and even in the most trying circumstances, God is our place of safety. God, our divine Parent, is tenderly mothering – caring for – each of us, and lovingly providing spiritual ideas that translate into practical solutions for every human need. The Bible is full of examples of reliance on God providing help and comfort in situations of human need, including from hunger, disease, danger, and death.
In the Christian Science textbook, “Science and Health with Key to the Scriptures,” Mary Baker Eddy writes, “Divine Love always has met and always will meet every human need,” and she assures us of the spiritual fact that “to all mankind and in every hour, divine Love supplies all good” (p. 494). It may feel like a huge leap of faith to say this when the situation looks so bleak. But we catch glimpses of God’s love through the many people who are acting with kindness, generosity, and unselfishness to help those in need.
It’s been both extraordinary and heartwarming, for instance, to see the ways in which individuals have felt compelled by love and to help others who need specific help but don’t have anyone to provide it. And as stated in an editorial in The Christian Science Monitor on May 7, 2021, there are “millions of volunteers and small-scale donors who are assisting sick and destitute people during a COVID-19 wave.
“For a country that has long ranked relatively low in charitable giving, India is coming on strong in weaving new levels of public trust” (“How India lightens its crisis”).
These kinds of acts are evidence of the Love that is God. This Love fills all space. It is the all-pervading atmosphere in which we all truly live. Divine Love’s presence is filled with life-giving ideas, freely available to all. We each have an inherent ability to inhale, to take in, these ideas and allow them to purify, cleanse, and heal fear, discouragement, or dismay – anything that would overwhelm us.
The inexhaustible supply of inspiration pouring out from the infinite source that is God’s goodness is the spiritual “oxygen” that we breathe and that sustains us all. This inspiration is the Christ, “the true idea voicing good, the divine message from God to men speaking to the human consciousness,” as explained in Science and Health (p. 332).
Nothing can obstruct this divine message or even delay it. God is all-powerful, and knowing this helps make solutions apparent to people everywhere – so that those who need it most can feel the comfort and strength of divine Love’s inspiration right where they are. No matter how difficult the circumstances, God’s perfect love takes away fear. It calms us and enables us to think clearly. Helplessness and vulnerability give place to an assurance of safety that ripples out to calm those around us.
Divine Love’s universal law governs impartially. Under this divine government, supply and demand are perfectly balanced. No human barriers or dividing lines can withstand the power of God’s love to reach everyone. Nor does Love’s law penalize those who are doing good. The health care workers and others who are so selflessly giving of their skills, time, and resources can affirm their right to see Love’s divine law blessing their willingness to help and protecting all engaged in good work. This is the most powerful protective equipment available.
Over the years, I’ve turned to God as the “rock” of divine Love and consistently found comfort, strength, and healing in my life. So, I am confident that even with what seems to be a problem of great magnitude, our prayers will have a sure healing effect, helping to bring an end to the current crisis in India and the pandemic around the globe. A favorite hymn assures us:
Everlasting arms of Love
Are beneath, around, above;
God it is who bears us on,
His the arm we lean upon.
He our ever-present guide
Faithful is, whate’er betide;
He will keep us all the way,
God, our refuge, strength and stay.
(John R. Macduff, “Christian Science Hymnal,” No. 53, © CSBD)