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Storms in the Midwest and a time for prayer

A Christian Science perspective.

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It is a rare day when storms are not part of the news – political, atmospheric, localized disturbances, or ones of large-scale devastation – so the need to prayerfully support those caught up in them is a demand of the unceasing prayer St. Paul recommends in a letter counseling some early church workers.

This morning as my prayers turned to the folks in the Midwestern United States, I prayed to confirm their comfort, strength from God, and sturdy spiritual sense rescuing them from the grim landscape before them. Truly, it is God’s enduring love that surrounds each of them, including those who did not survive the storms. God’s care extends beyond what we see on earth, to eternity. Though missed, those who passed on, including the precious child initially found in a field far from home, are not forgotten or forsaken.

According to the news coverage, many affected were hardy, God-loving people and are now cleaning up, tending to the needs of others, and going to church to express gratitude for His protection and guidance. They are thanking God for His blessings. One woman assured a television reporter that as she was descending the steps to her basement to find a safe corner, she felt the presence of God with her, and was calm. Shortly thereafter, her basement was all that was left. It was completely exposed to the sky, but she had a smile as wide as the horizon. She was a picture of undaunted spiritual poise.

The New York Times ran an article, “In Indiana, Prayer Amid the Storm Cleanup,” highlighting the spiritual fortitude apparent in the wake of these storms.

The article quoted high school senior Emily Horine, who explained, “My faith is what keeps me going every day.... We have to know that there’s hope for the future. We need a place to turn, and God is the best place for comfort and hope.”

The Bible is full of references to God as a refuge from storms, as a help in trouble, and as the secure dwelling place for His children. And while destruction is not in the nature of God, restoration is. Mary Baker Eddy, who discovered and taught the practice of Christian Science, assured a student of God’s temperament, “He helps us most when help is most needed, for He is the ever-present help” (“Miscellaneous Writings 1883-1896,” p. 157). Even now, ideas are coming from God to these people, instructing them how to go forward, how to rebuild. Those of us who are not directly affected can be involved through effectual prayer on their behalf.

God, divine Love, is not a force of devastation, but of pure good. His actions result in blessing. The evidence of destruction is the opposite of God. The Bible specifically denies the presence of God in the earthquake, wind, and fire (see I Kings 19:11, 12).

Mary Baker Eddy, in her textbook called “Science and Health with Key to the Scriptures,” claims that God is a God of good, of tenderness, and of provision. She sums this up in a statement in her book, “Christian Science brings to light Truth and its supremacy, universal harmony, the entireness of God, good, and the nothingness of evil” (p. 293). Before such good, evil is proved to be, in effect, powerless, and His children realize their ability through God to express dominion and strength. God endures, and His people are restored.

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After my prayer session, I turned to the “Christian Science Hymnal,” as I habitually do each morning, and this is the message I opened to:

Glory be to God on high,
God whose glory fills the sky;
Peace on earth to man is given,
Man, the well-beloved of heaven.
Gracious Father, in Thy love,
Send Thy blessings from above;
Let Thy light, Thy truth, Thy peace
Bid all strife and tumult cease.

Mark the wonders of His hand:
Power no empire can withstand;
Wisdom, angels’ glorious theme;
Goodness one eternal stream.
All ye people, raise the song,
Endless thanks to God belong;
Hearts o’erflowing with His praise
Join the hymns your voices raise.

                    Charles Wesley and John Taylor, No. 405

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