Is Evil Ever Inescapable?
Bringing a spiritual perspective to world events and daily life.
ARE sad events sometimes the work of fate, and inescapable? This question was once deeply troubling to me. Each year in early January, I always bought copies of tabloid newspapers that featured annual predictions for the world, usually catastrophic, made by famous psychics.
My fascination was a personal one, as well as one of more general philosophy. It had been a traditional belief in my family that many of us had a touch of what we called "second sight." In other words, we sensed in advance that something sad or tragic was going to happen.
After I became a Christian Scientist, and began to follow the system of religion founded by Mary Baker Eddy on the teachings of Christ Jesus, many healings came to me, of illness and other problems. But, although I no longer read predictions of pending disaster, I still had occasional premonitions that foretold tragedy. This became a troubling, secret conflict for me. I realized my fears of disaster simply did not agree with what Christian Science taught me. It not only teaches, but demonstrates, that God is Love itself, and that He is All.
I prayed over this question constantly, having come to understand clearly that terror-causing events have no place, because of the fact that God is All. One especially cherished statement in the Bible made me feel the omnipresent love of God-strong and gentle as a shepherd. But then one morning I woke to the unmistakable, old fear involving a premonition that a sad experience that I could not escape was on the way. The premonition concerned disruption of my own livelihood.
I had recently spent many weeks completing an unusual writing assignment for a magazine. For years the company had bought all my work. And it had been enthusiastically interested in this latest story. But now I feared the story would be rejected, at a time when I very much needed the income and had counted on it. Just as I feared, the story was rejected; once more it seemed that my ability to foresee disastrous events had proved itself accurate.
After the initial shock, I began to pray. I was led to read several instructions by Jesus in what is called the Sermon on the Mount (see Matthew, chaps. 5-7). The words that seemed almost to leap into my consciousness were about loving "them which despitefully use you, and persecute you" (5:44). I hadn't considered myself exactly persecuted, but I still felt this was the message I needed. Jesus instructs us to pray for those who persecute us "that [we] may be the children of [our] Father which is in heaven: for he maketh his sun to rise on the evil and on the good, and sendeth rain on the just and on the unjust" (verse 45).
What struck me forcibly was that Jesus had described God as sending nourishing sun and refreshing rain-obvious symbols of caring and love-on everyone alike: good and evil, just and unjust. He had not excluded anyone from receiving them. Why? Because God didn't create them this way. He doesn't ever see them this way.
I realized the spiritual truth in this: God's sun and rain-as much as to say His goodness-truly do bless everyone. God wouldn't or couldn't produce lightning bolts of tragedy against which there could be no defense.
This was for me a practical, logical truth that freed me from my long-standing dread of premonitions. This statement from Science and Health with Key to the Scriptures, a book by Mrs. Eddy, seemed particularly profound: "We lose the high signification of omnipotence, when after admitting that God, or good, is omnipresent and has all-power, we still believe there is another power, named evil" (p. 469). I realized in that moment that I knew, rather than simply believed, that no matter what the human situation, God is good, incapable of sending inescapable evil.
My article was accepted by another publisher within days, at more than twice what I would have been paid by the first publisher. And that began a happy association that continued for many years. If anyone seems to be threatened or overwhelmed by evil, God does not cause it; God destroys it.
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