I HEARD a news report one Christmas Eve that had an ironic twist. The radio broadcast consisted almost entirely of reports of fires, flood, famine, and world conflict. Then the program signed off with a message from Luke's Gospel: ``On earth peace, good will toward men.'' Sometimes it seems as though this is the story of human experience -- a spate of evil with only a faint glimmer of good as part of a distant past or nebulous future. But this discouraging view of life isn't the full story. Only what God, infinite good, creates is permanent, and He creates only what is spiritual and good.
This promise of good takes more solid form, however, when we're obedient to the Bible's instruction, found in Proverbs: ``Trust in the Lord with all thine heart; and lean not unto thine own understanding. In all thy ways acknowledge him, and he shall direct thy paths.''
Is it really possible that an understanding of God can bring to humanity good instead of evil, love instead of hatred, or even peace instead of war? It's easy to be skeptical of this, to believe that trusting God to bring good is naivet or wishful thinking. But it is possible to turn discordant situations around through prayer, and the Bible gives ample evidence of this. The book of Acts, for example, records that the Apostle Peter was freed from prison as the result of the church's fervent prayer.
This assurance of God's love and protection isn't limited to Bible times, however, as I found when I was a reporter assigned to cover an inner-city riot. Frankly, on my first visit to the troubled community I expected angry, resentful, criminal activities. And that is just what I found. My fear and uncertainty showed in the story I wrote, which was disorganized and unfocused. I basically saw myself as a good person chronicling the chaotic activities of bad people. No wonder my editor rejecte d the story.