WE see graphic images of destruction on the evening news or read tragic stories in the newspaper about people who need our help--in Bosnia, Rwanda, Haiti. Some would argue that even the United States has its ``war zones'' of gang-related activities, drive-by shootings, and drug dealing. Many may feel a sense of helplessness or hopelessness about these situations. There are obviously no easy answers.
During the first several months of Operation Desert Shield, I rarely thought about the ``crisis.'' I didn't know anyone who had been sent to the Persian Gulf, and I certainly didn't believe that war was the way to accomplish anything.
Then one Sunday, I began to feel sorry for military personnel separated from their families during the holiday sea-son. My whole heart cried out, ``But what can I do?'' A passage from the Christian Science textbook, Science and Health with Key to the Scriptures changed my whole outlook. It's where the author, Mary Baker Eddy, writes, ``The Christian Scientist has enlisted to lessen evil, disease, and death; and he will overcome them by understanding their nothingness and the allness of God, or good'' (p. 450).
I realized suddenly that I was needed as one of the enlisted, though my place was not in the desert sands of a foreign country. I also knew that this task of lessening evil was not confined to Christian Scientists, or to any specific religious group. We each can do our part in the lessening of ``evil, disease, and death'' by doing good to those who come into our lives. We can, for example, work for harmony in our own experience. And, as people all over the world have found, prayer provides practical and immediate solutions to the problems of sin, sickness, and even death, along with financial and relationship difficulties. While prayer, to some, may appear a rather unusual method in the face of bombs and strife, there are those who have proved the healing that turning to God brings.
A perfect example, naturally, is Christ Jesus, who spent his entire life healing the sick and the sinning. The Bible records his turning away from the tumult of the material world, to pray. Indeed, before giving what is now known as the Lord's Prayer, Jesus told his disciples, ``When thou prayest, enter into thy closet, and when thou hast shut thy door, pray to thy Father which is in secret; and thy Father which seeth in secret shall reward thee openly'' (Matthew 6:6). Doesn't this tell us that if we enter into our ``closet''--that is, our spiritual sanctuary of the quiet solitude and stillness of God's presence--we, too, are able to find healing answers not only for day-to-day strifes, but for situations that affect our nation or our world?
At one time during Jesus' ministry, we read in John's Gospel, the scribes and Pharisees of the day brought a woman who had committed adultery to him, demanding that he decide if she should be stoned, according to the law of Moses. On the surface, it seemed that no matter what answer Jesus gave, it would provide the Pharisees with ammunition against him. As they pressed him for an answer, he responded in a manner that averted the entire conflict. The accusers dispersed. And the woman was sent along to lead a life free from sin.
Jesus' actions show that God's love is not conditional on a period of time, nationality, or borders. Divine Love is infinite, ever present, and available to all. And because God, Love, is infinite and has all-power, His power wipes out evil--no matter what its form, or how ``big'' it appears. As we turn to this ever-available love of God as Jesus did, we will be able to see more clearly that a God of Love could not possibly create tension, conflict, or discord of any kind. Because God did not create evil, it cannot have power over us or anyone else.
We don't have to travel to a foreign country or carry a gun to play a role in overcoming injustice and fostering peace. In fact, our prayer is far more potent than the weapons of the world could ever be. And no matter where we are, what the situation, or how urgent the need for help, we can always turn to God for answers and protection. Our prayers bring the answers that show us how to resolve an incident, or even how to prevent discordant events from happening at all.