A Christian Science perspective.
This time of year many charitable organizations are asking for contributions. Deciding which to support can be daunting. A New York Times feature on Pakistanis who lost everything in the floods earlier this year included this perspective: “ ‘No rock concerts were organized to help Pakistani children sleeping on highways or in open fields infested with vermin,’ wrote the Middle East scholar and blogger Juan Cole. ‘No sports events offered receipts to aid victims at risk from cholera and other diseases’ ” (“The Special Pain of a Slow Disaster,” Nov. 10).
It’s easy for me to give financially to the disaster fund for Pakistan. It is still a living fund, and many have given, though not as many as have given to other recent disaster relief.
But I must do more than write a check and then move on. Today as I sit during this holy season of Jesus Christ’s birth, I need to pray with deeper understanding of the higher laws of God, who is entirely good, and recognize that this prayer has power to be felt in tangible ways in many people’s lives, including those in Pakistan.
One thing I’ve seen from my study of the Bible is that God’s love and compassion never fail. Whether the need is for food or water – as was the case of the children of Israel in the wilderness – or for physical healing – which Jesus brought so consistently – God is a very present help to all people.
This help is expressed as Christ, the divine message of salvation to human hearts. The compassion of Christ never fails, even if human circumstances seem unsavory or daunting.
In Jesus’ day, lepers were outcasts. Yet when a leprous man asked him for healing, Jesus showed him the compassion of Christ (see Mark 1:40-42). Instead of shrinking from him, Jesus touched him, something others would have been unwilling to do. By this act he showed the man that he wasn’t a victim in God’s eyes. He was a loved child of God and never forgotten or fallen from the dignity of his birthright.
“God is love,” the Bible points out (I John 4:16). The Greek word used here for love is agape. This love is unconditional, is always giving, and can never be taken away. Right now, this love is a healing presence in Pakistan, guiding those who are working in the relief effort, and helping the people who are displaced to be energized and able to take steps on their own behalf. In the Love that is God, there are no victims, no abandoned or neglected children.
Proving this to be true may seem impossible at times; obstacles appear unmovable. Yet God’s spiritual laws of good will enable people to defend themselves from unjust laws and corrupt behavior. One of the synonyms for God that Mary Baker Eddy, who discovered Christian Science, identified is “Principle.” Under divine Principle, corrupt behavior cannot prevail, and our prayers affirming the presence of Principle’s laws and justice can help establish this at home and abroad. Nothing can impede the supply of love that flows from its source in infinite Love. Through right direction of resources, and the wisdom of the people who administer them, needs can be met.
When Jesus prayed, things happened. He was able to see the leprous man’s right to perfection as God’s child, and his right to be whole and exempt from disease. He told his followers that he expected them to do the same – and they did.
In the same way, we can trust our prayers for the people of Pakistan to strengthen and guide all who are working to free them from danger and homelessness. They can depend on this love to maintain their safety and well-being and to supply their needs. Wherever human beings in need reach out to draw on the goodness of infinite Love, the supply flows to meet the need in ways that are natural and reliable. Our prayers have power, and each time we lift a nation or a group of people into the arms of Love, hearts are lifted and fresh opportunities are restored.