A Christian Science perspective: Fires have destroyed homes and farms in many parts of Australia. Here's how one resident is praying.
Throughout January, bush fires have been devouring the landscape of many parts of Australia. Many homes have been lost, and farmers are returning to their blackened paddocks. In my own state of New South Wales, one of our most famous and beautiful national parks, the Warrumbungles, has been devastated.
As I thought of the times I had walked along the park’s bush tracks and enjoyed the spectacular views and beauty of its untouched wilderness, I was overcome with sadness. I was shaken by a news report forecasting that temperatures would rise, and the lines of containment, constructed by the firefighters to meet the fire, would probably be breached. The dire predictions presented a situation out of control. The firefighters, many of whom are volunteers, were bracing themselves for the worst. I knew I needed to put aside my sadness and join with my fellow Australians in fighting the fire through the power of prayer.
Comfort came immediately with verses from the Scriptures in the book of Isaiah: “O Israel, Fear not: for I have redeemed thee, I have called thee by thy name; thou art mine. When thou passest through the waters, I will be with thee; and through the rivers, they shall not overflow thee: when thou walkest through the fire, thou shalt not be burned; neither shall the flame kindle upon thee” (Isaiah 43:1, 2).
This message really put everything into perspective for me. I thought about those wonderful qualities evident in the action of the firefighters. They have been risking their lives for those who cannot fight for themselves. This sense of brotherhood and love is surely the real power that is fighting the fires. The spirit of the Christ is evident in the courage of those who have lost everything but are rejoicing that they are alive and with their families.
Jesus’ understanding of the power of God’s love for His children gave him complete control over climatic conditions. This enabled him to calm a windstorm that threatened to destroy the boat he was sailing in with his disciples. Every one of his healing works proved that life was not subject to material conditions but was the outcome of the life-giving force and creative power of Mind, God. He also showed us that this power can be individually expressed through the qualities of the Christ to meet any need.
I thought about how this wonderful force of Christly love has been so evident throughout the bush fires threat in Australia. It can be seen in the way volunteers in the local town near the national park have been working overtime to provide food and shelter for those who are without homes. Hundreds of meals are prepared every day. Through our prayers we unite with our fellow man in supporting these invaluable activities of brotherhood and love.
As I continued to pray to understand the power underpinning the good that was so evident, I was encouraged by a statement from the founder of this newspaper, Mary Baker Eddy, in her book “Science and Health with Key to the Scriptures.” She writes: “Mind is the grand creator, and there can be no power except that which is derived from Mind” (p. 143).
This truth that God, Mind, is the only creator and is reigning supreme over all His creation assured me that no matter how frightening the material circumstances, God’s presence is there in all its power and glory. His unlimited power includes all those fighting the fires in safety and security.
It also became clear to me that there is no opposite power that can bring destruction or take away life when everything is under the control of God. No one can be separated from the loving, benign presence of God’s love. “The Lord God omnipotent reigneth” (Revelation 19:6).