Is God punishing us?
A Christian Science perspective: A look at what the Bible says God is and what He does for man.
When extreme weather events seem frequent, some people may ask, “Is God punishing us?” A look at who and what God is may better answer that question, and one place many turn to in order to answer questions about God is the Bible. The collection of writings that make up this book record man’s growing understanding of God. The most clear view of Him reveals God to be good – all Life, and Love. A spiritual understanding of God, then, actually shows that He does not destroy His creation, but preserves it.
The best demonstrations of God’s saving power are illustrated in the life and works of Christ Jesus. He prayed to our Father, “Thy will be done in earth, as it is in heaven” (Matthew 6:10). He taught that we are all sons and daughters of God, and therefore able to rise above anything unlike God’s goodness. Sent to save all mankind, Jesus healed sinners, calmed storms, and even rose from the grave. What beautiful evidence that God actually loves us and works in our lives to redeem and save us all.
It was this elevated understanding that gave me hope for a friend of mine who called for support during a particularly tumultuous time in his life. He felt he needed to be around friends and family, so he had organized a gathering. However, his plan was about to be thwarted by a hurricane.
In our phone call, he asked for my help. He knew I was a Christian Scientist and that something good could come to situations through prayer. I knew of course that I couldn’t will a storm to cease, but I could pray to better know God and understand the always loving nature of His will, and that understanding the truth about God could help my friend.
During our phone conversation and after, I silently prayed that it wasn’t my will, my friend’s will, or anyone else’s that could effect positive change, but God’s goodwill that had the only real and permanent power. I knew that as perfect Love, God does not condemn His creation; He loves His creation. As eternal Life, He does not bring death; He forever gives life to what He creates. My desire for God’s will to be done gave me complete peace. My friend felt at peace, too.
He later told me that the rain stopped where he was and that he was able to travel safely to fulfill his plans. I was grateful that the dire predictions of that hurricane did not pan out and that we were able to glimpse God’s goodwill for mankind. The Founder of Christian Science, Mary Baker Eddy, writes that “the atmosphere of the human mind, when cleansed of self and permeated with divine Love, will reflect this purified subjective state in clearer skies, less thunderbolts, tornadoes, and extremes of heat and cold” (“The First Church of Christ, Scientist and Miscellany” p. 265).
Though I feel sure many people prayed about that hurricane, this experience urges me to keep praying deeply about adverse weather conditions along with any misconception that God punishes us.