There is a feeling of helplessness in the face of disasters such as the ones that have brought devastation and loss of life to the Philippines, Samoa, and Indonesia. The relentless presentation of the power of an earthquake, a typhoon, and a tsunami appears overwhelming. Seeing pictures of entire villages wiped out by massive waves leaves an indelible impression of the vulnerability of human life.
Many people in these devastated countries are in great need, both mentally and physically. Their lives have been changed forever. The good they had depended on, such as family, friends, home – their security – has been violently taken from them. They need to feel the love and comfort that will help them regain a sense of safety. They need to have hope in the power of good to bring restoration to their lives.
Mary Baker Eddy, the founder of the Monitor, wrote, "Evil is not supreme; good is not helpless; nor are the so-called laws of matter primary, and the law of Spirit secondary" ("Science and Health with Key to the Scriptures," p. 207). As we begin to accept that good is not helpless, that it is a vital and powerful force, our prayers are strengthened. The existence of good is the evidence of God's power and presence.
To understand, furthermore, that there is a spiritual law, a law of restoration that operates on the human scene as a force for goodness, will bring healing. Fear is destroyed by this law, and it protects, restores, and comforts those in need. It is this law that wipes out evil's claim to power by revealing the indestructible presence of good.
The Scriptures provide examples of the spiritual law overcoming evil. The Old Testament tells of the prophet Elijah's struggles against the threat upon his life by Queen Jezebel. Elijah had proved many times that good was a sustaining force in his life. But at this moment, evil was overwhelming him, and he crept into a cave to die. God called Elijah to come out of the cave and stand upon a mountain. He was then shown the destructive elements of a strong wind, an earthquake, and fire. Elijah realized that God was not in this display of force, but was present only through the spiritual power of the "still small voice" (see I Kings 19:2–12).
Elijah was able to understand that right in the middle of the violence and destruction, God's law was operating, bringing harmony and order.
We, too, can be encouraged by his example, and stand firm in the midst of the spectacle of the typhoon, earthquake, and tsunami, and realize that the presence of good is an indestructible force that is capable of changing chaos into order.
Through our prayers, we can play a vital role in supporting all those who are unselfishly working to bring restoration to these devastated areas. The efforts of governments, such as those of the US, New Zealand, and Australia, quickly sending aid to these ravaged areas, is the sign that good is not helpless. Individuals such as doctors, nurses, and relief workers are leaving their homes to bring much needed comfort to those who are suffering pain and loss. God is calling us all to go upon the mount of prayer, to witness the "still small voice" meeting the human need.
From this spiritual standpoint we will be able to pray more effectively. We will also be protected from being impressed by the material circumstances. Prayer is our means by which we can reach out and support our brothers and sisters. It is a powerful tool, and when underpinned with the understanding of the presence and power of good, it will have a healing outcome.
We can be encouraged by these words of the Psalmist: "God is our refuge and strength, a very present help in trouble. Therefore will not we fear, though the earth be removed, and though the mountains be carried into the midst of the sea;... The Lord of hosts is with us" (Ps. 46:1, 2, 7).