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Dealing With Disaster

Bringing a spiritual perspective to world events and daily life.

How does a person cope in really tough times? Very few of us go through life without meeting a disaster of some sort. What does one do when a marriage fails, layoffs threaten, a loved one dies, or an accident results in horrendous injuries? How does anyone press on when the bottom drops out?

Look in the Bible. A famous character, David, had many hardships. On one occasion he and his fellow warriors were returning home from battle. They were exhausted, dirty, and anxious to get home. Then they came upon a scene that shocked them to the core; their once-quiet village was now a smoldering ruin. The enemy had burned down their homes and kidnapped their wives and children. How did they react? The Bible says, "Then David and the people that were with him lifted up their voice and wept, until they had no more power to weep" (I Samuel 30:4). As if that were not bad enough, David's own men turned against him, and talked of stoning him.

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What David did in his great distress is interesting. The Bible continues, "David encouraged himself in the Lord his God" (verse 6). He prayed. He sought refuge in communion with God. He did not surrender to discouragement and refused to be defeated by the awful scene. And God gave him this answer: "Pursue: for thou shalt surely overtake them, and without fail recover all" (verse 8). David was obedient to God and recovered everything and everybody who had been taken away. This is an example for you and me. There is nothing to be gained by wallowing in self-pity or putting the blame on someone else. Retaliating is not the solution either; it multiplies the anger and keeps us focused on the circumstances. We must not blind ourselves to possible solutions to our problems.

David was not the only person in the Bible to find a refuge in God. Joshua, reiterating the counsel of Moses, told Israel to "cleave unto the Lord your God" (Joshua 23:8). The word cleave means to cling or stick fast. Christ Jesus, too, held fast to God. He said he could do nothing of himself (see John 5:30). The greatest healer who ever lived could do nothing? No, he said--not alone. But with God, he could do whatever he needed to do. Through the power of God he overcame every desperate and dangerous situation that confronted him.

The book Science and Health with Key to the Scriptures points out the spiritual signification of the Word of God, and shows readers how to hear God's messages--how to find healing solutions to mankind's problems. It was written by Mary Baker Eddy, who founded the Christian Science Church.

When meeting with disaster, Science and Health explains, it is important to maintain a calmness and trust in God. It says, "When the illusion of sickness or sin tempts you, cling steadfastly to God and His idea. Allow nothing but His likeness to abide in your thought. Let neither fear nor doubt overshadow your clear sense and calm trust, that the recognition of life harmonious--as Life eternally is--can destroy any painful sense of, or belief in, that which Life is not" (p. 495).

Christian Science explains God's creation as wholly spiritual, in accordance with the first chapter of Genesis. The apparently flawed material creation arises from incorrect views of God and of ourselves. Disaster, accident, and sickness have never been created by God, and they prove to be illusions. They are not God's will for anyone. You have God's authority for rejecting things that are not like Him. This is done by refusing to recognize them as real under God's jurisdiction. Understanding that you are spiritual, the work of God, inseparable from Him--and clinging to this truth about yourself--bring you to feel God's presence instantly. He is always available; He never delays. With Him there is nothing to fear. No matter what the physical evidence says to the contrary, your life can conform to God's goodness through prayer. "Clinging steadfastly" to God is a form of communion with God. If you listen for His direction, it will come in a way that you can understand. It will bring solutions in times of disaster.

All of the people mentioned in this article had to deal with desperate and disastrous situations at different times. They triumphed through their adherence to God. You can, too.

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