How can I help?
TROUBLED by challenges facing mankind today, we may ask, ``How can I help?'' We also may wonder whether there really is anything one individual can do, particularly if separated by thousands of miles from scenes of political conflict, religious strife, geological and environmental disaster, extreme human need. Yet the world's cry for help prompts us to ask ourselves what we can do to alleviate suffering. To be of assistance, we must not allow ourselves to be overwhelmed by the apparent magnitude of mankind's problems. Regardless of the dimensions of a situation, we can help, challenging deterrents to healing right where we are. Although the difficulties we face on our home front may be different in character from those in another part of the world, we will likely find in our own lives some of the same elements of thought that require healing on a larger scale. And the healing of these on an individual basis can have an impact on the well-being of all humanity.
For example, have you ever faced a need for a change of career? Did you feel uncomfortable with the thought of leaving behind the old and venturing out into something unfamiliar? If so, in order to progress you had to cast off an attitude resistant to change. You had to throw off characteristics that would hinder progress and to claim as your own such God-derived qualities as courage, resilience, spontaneity, receptivity, humility, strength.
Or have you ever faced chronic illness or lack and felt despair? Perhaps the need then was for fortitude in order to cast off those feelings and trust more deeply in God's healing care.
In instances such as these we are overcoming traits that we may have felt were intrinsic to man's nature. We are redefining our concept of man, bringing it into closer alignment with what God has actually created.
God created man as the perfect expression of His glorious nature. As we become better witnesses to the divine nature, we experience more fully the harmony that God has ordained for His children. We are following in the way Christ Jesus taught: ``Let your light so shine before men, that they may see your good works, and glorify your Father which is in heaven.'' 1
But how can those living in a different hemisphere benefit from our ``good works''? I was pondering that question one day during a time when restrictions were placed on the use of water in several counties in my home state. Rainfall amounts were far below normal, and the constant draw on water in underground pools had caused the water table to drop unacceptably low. Restrictions on water use continued until sufficient rain had fallen to bring the water table back up to normal.
When normal rain patterns resumed, showers seemed to fall everywhere except in my county. I knew I needed to be grateful that others were getting rain; it seemed right to appreciate good wherever it was seen. But the question lingered, ``What about us?'' Then I realized that as others received rain, the underground water table was gradually rising. That water table knew nothing of boundaries. Rain falling elsewhere, raising the water table, blessed us too! And ultimately the water restrictions were lifted.
In a similar fashion, the truth we acknowledge and demonstrate in our individual lives blesses others as well--even those apparently separated from us by geographical, political, ideological, cultural, or religious boundaries. Eliminating through prayer such character traits as fear, obduracy, despair, distrust, we are proving that these traits are not legitimately part of any of God's children. We are heightening the universal concept of what truly constitutes man as God's image. We are demonstrating the ability of all mankind to overcome these traits and thereby render thought receptive to God's goodness always at hand. Working in this way, we can be assured our prayers bring blessing to our neighbors in Africa--and throughout the world--just as surely as in our own lives.
Good is universal, because it is of God. And God is not a respecter of persons. We read in the Christian Science textbook, Science and Health with Key to the Scriptures by Mary Baker Eddy:2 ``In divine Science, where prayers are mental, all may avail themselves of God as `a very present help in trouble.' Love is impartial and universal in its adaptation and bestowals. It is the open fount which cries, `Ho, every one that thirsteth, come ye to the waters.' '' 3 1 Matthew 5:16. 2 The Discoverer and Founder of Christian Science. 3 Science and Health, pp. 12-13. DAILY BIBLE VERSE As we have therefore opportunity, let us do good unto all men . . . Galatians 6:10