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Finding Comfort In Difficult Times

IN the face of destruction and loss it's sometimes difficult to find words of comfort. This is certainly true in the wake of the tragic, devastating fire that swept through the Oakland, California, area recently.Questions often trouble us at such times. If there is a God, does He allow senseless destruction? Why are innocent people robbed not only of their homes and earthly belongings but in some instances of life itself? These are legitimate questions. If there were no God, no source of divine justice to whom we could turn, then we'd all be subject to chance and misfortune. But since there is a God, who is good, we have hope even in the midst of the most severe circumstances. The Bible teaches that God is Love, and throughout its pages are concrete proofs of His love--vivid illustrations of protection and healing. The Bible doesn't imply that innocence never suffers in human life or that hardships and destruction never occur. But it does tell us th at we can turn to Almighty God in difficult times and find help. And it shows us that the work of spiritually-minded people lives on, even today, transcending the trials and tragedy they faced. We all can find comfort and reason for hope in these words of St. Paul, who was no stranger to great hardship. He wrote to the Romans: "I am persuaded, that neither death, nor life, nor angels, nor principalities, nor powers, nor things present, nor things to come, nor height, nor depth, nor any other creature, shall be able to separate us from the love of God, which is in Christ Jesus our Lord. It may not be easy sometimes to retain our perception of God as good and of life itself as worthwhile when misfortune suddenly occurs. But a growing understanding of God's goodness and our truer, more consistent worship of Him as pure Spirit are the very things needed to lessen tragedy. Some words of Elihu from the book of Job point to a vital concept in all of this. Referring to the Almighty, he says, "He is excellent in power, and in judgment, and in plenty of justice: he will not afflict. And the Psalmist said very simply of God, "Thou art good, and doest good. God is not the sender of misfortune. Divine Love doesn't create it or permit it. But Love, God, can certainly be called upon to deliver us from the effects of misfortune and to protect us from it. In a world where conflict, disaster, and hurt sometimes seem rampant, where evil appears as prevalent as good, we have our work cut out for us. In the deepest sense that work is to recognize more clearly God's total goodness and the supremacy of His law. It's to begin to glimpse the true nature of God's creation as entirely spiritual and concordant, always under His wise jurisdiction. What God created couldn't be a haphazard conglomeration of good and evil that allows for suffering and disaster. What God created must express His perfect nature; it must be perpetually in His care. This true state of things is the basis for finding comfort, healing, and increasing freedom from evil. Mary Baker Eddy, the Discoverer and Founder of Christian Science, writes reassuringly in Science and Health with Key to the Scriptures, "Evil is not supreme; good is not helpless; nor are the so-called laws of matter primary, and the law of Spirit secondary. This is a practical statement of fact, a powerful promise for us all. It may seem difficult to prove when loss overshadows our peace, our very lives. But with growing trust in God's love we'll feel more of that love and its provision for us, indiv idually and collectively.

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