The news often seems full of ''natural causes,'' which are blamed for particular circumstances, usually tragic ones.
In one of his sermons to the church people at Corinth, the Apostle Paul puts cause and effect in a special light. His statement hints that we can anchor our experience in something more enduring than happenstance: ''Now thanks be unto God, which always causeth us to triumph in Christ, and maketh manifest the savour of his knowledge by us in every place.'' n1
n1 II Corinthians 2:14.
In the next chapter, he goes on, speaking of trust ''through Christ to God-ward,'' and adding modestly yet truly, ''Not that we are sufficient of ourselves to think any thing as of ourselves; but our sufficiency is of God.'' n 2
n2 II Corinthians 3:4, 5.
One wonders how many burdening circumstances might have been profoundly eased by some increased turning to God, Spirit, the one infinite force for good. This may seem a radical speculation until one reviews Scripture and finds a repeated connection between great goodness, great blessing, and God.
Elijah encountered God not as the force of strong wind, earthquake, and fire but as ''a still small voice'' n3 of guidance.
n3 See I Kings 19:11, 12.
Christ Jesus encountered evidences of personal and public disaster but never connected them hopelessly with God. God clearly is the power of healing, not of cursing. In fact, the greater one's love and understanding of God, the smaller the space one leaves for troubled thoughts and circumstances. God became, to those who followed the Master's teachings, what He really is - the only cause, the authentic cause. Evil subsides when confronted by the understanding of God as the one, true, unopposable cause. Little by little it is seen to be nothing.
The Discoverer and Founder of Christian Science, Mary Baker Eddy, writes of Jesus: ''His consummate example was for the salvation of us all, but only through doing the works which he did and taught others to do. His purpose in healing was not alone to restore health, but to demonstrate his divine Principle.'' n4
n4 Science and Health with Key to the Scriptures,m p. 51.
I began thinking along these lines the other day when newspapers reported the death of a well-known, middle-aged entertainer due to ''natural causes.'' The casual media attribution of the event bothered me. I wanted to argue for a little affirmation of and attention to the natural blessings of life. This sent me to the Bible to find comfort and inspiration in what Jesus and his followers seemed so consistently to understand about God as the one trustworthy power upholding life. Discerning their sense of God as total good, and of life as embraced in that spiritual sufficiency, put death in a very different perspective. An uplifted sense of life as actually spiritual and unending began to displace the troubled sense about death.
As Paul assured those listeners at Corinth, who perhaps were also troubled about such things, ''Where the Spirit of the Lord is, there is liberty.'' n5
n5 II Corinthians 3:17.
My convictions about all this - my comfort, really - took new shape. An inner assurance grew stronger that there truly is only one natural cause, one divine source of life. It was clearer that life, most authentically, is of God. DAILY BIBLE VERSE Thou, Lord, art good. . . ; and plenteous in mercy unto all them that call upon thee. Psalms 86:5