I read about how one time Bono from the rock band U2 felt irate over the attitudes of political leaders. He told a stranger how he felt.
"Don't fight the darkness - turn on the light," said the stranger, an older man. And this had an impact on the way Bono began approaching his songwriting.
That idea of not fighting darkness has stayed with me. At the time I read about it, I was just becoming acquainted with stories of people in the Bible, and the stranger's advice seemed to mesh with the insights that those stories were giving me.
One story involved an incident described in Second Kings (chap. 6). Elisha, a prophet devoted to God, was in the city of Dothan. He and his servant woke up one morning to find it surrounded by enemy forces from Syria, whose mission was to capture Elisha. The servant was understandably freaked out by the sight of so much military might confronting them.
But it apparently never occurred to Elisha to hope for help from the military forces of Israel (whom he'd helped avoid defeat at the hands of the Syrians). Elisha saw things a little differently. He saw things spiritually. That is, he took God's power into account. He prayed to God for his servant to perceive God's ability to save them, which was what he himself perceived. And his servant did then recognize the presence of the spiritual might of the divine Mind, God - symbolized as "horses and chariots of fire round about Elisha."
They were going up against the dark image of hostile forces, with the might of knowing God. This might is an eternal, spiritual light. It renders the specter of evil powerless. It's interesting to read the details of how they were able to overcome the Syrians swiftly, in a unique way that kept anyone from suffering ultimate harm. This left Dothan unscathed and Elisha free.
We can all pray, under all circumstances, and see that any darkness of sickness, loneliness, debt, loss, is conquerable by the light - the light of knowing God's all-presence. That is what Christ Jesus did in so many different ways.
We can also "turn on" the light of spiritual understanding with respect to troubling political situations. No event is too major, or too distant, to be favorably affected by your prayer - by enlightening your thought with the spiritual truth.
For instance, I was upset at one time when Israel launched a heavy attack on Lebanon. This seemed to me a severe threat to Middle East relations. I feared that previous progress toward peace was being undone.
I prayed about this. And I became filled with a different perception of what peace is and where it comes from. I gained the profound insight that peace is the very substance of God, expressed throughout the true, spiritual universe. Peace, I recognized, is forever established by God for all people; we all have the same creator. That included everyone in the Middle East. I felt I was uniting with praying people throughout the world, standing for the inevitability of peace in the face of chaotic darkness.
Shortly afterward, secret talks that had been taking place between Palestinians and Israelis in Scandinavia became public. It wasn't the final word, but the prospect of peace in the Middle East was boosted at that time.
Darkness is not an entity. It is the absence of light. Instead of trying to fight the darkness, we can focus on light - on understanding that God neither creates nor supports evil. God, divine Truth and Love, is the infinite source of spiritual understanding. There is not really any place left for anything else! According to the Christian Science textbook, " 'Let there be light,' is the perpetual demand of Truth and Love, changing chaos into order and discord into the music of the spheres" ("Science and Health with Key to the Scriptures," by Mary Baker Eddy, pg. 255).
Turning in whatever way to find this spiritual light is prayer. And it is more productive than trying to fight darkness. It brings growing freedom, progress, and healing.
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(c) Copyright 1999. The Christian Science Publishing Society