A prayerful response to the refugee crisis
A Christian Science perspective: Praying for refugees.
Anyone with a shred of humanity can’t help but be moved by the recent images of thousands of families fleeing their homelands to escape war and poverty. The countries absorbing the greatest number of refugees are struggling to cope and are doing their best to provide food and safe shelter – the most basic of human needs. How heartening it is to hear of the compassionate response of so many European citizens.
Recently, there was an overabundance of volunteers and donations to a railway station in Munich, Germany, which early on sheltered more than 2,000 refugees in one day (“Munich sees massive impromptu help for refugees,” DW.com).
Whether or not we are able to be of physical assistance in this latest crisis, we are no less able to help in other ways. We have the ability to pray – to recognize that the almighty God, the Mother and Father of us all, is comforting, guiding, and assuring those who feel afraid or have lost hope. “Am I a God at hand, saith the Lord, and not a God afar off?” it says in the Bible (Jeremiah 23:23). And also, “Behold, the Lord’s hand is not shortened, that it cannot save; neither his ear heavy, that it cannot hear” (Isaiah 59:1).
A beautiful illustration of God’s saving hand is found in the biblical account of the Egyptian servant Hagar and her son, Ishmael, who through a circumstance over which they had no control were forced out of their home (see Genesis 21). After wandering around in the wilderness, homeless, their water supply spent, Hagar placed her son under a shrub and sat near him, and wept in despair of his life. At the same time, she “lift up her voice” to God in prayer. Perhaps her young son cried out to God, too, for the Bible tells us that the angel of God called to Hagar, saying, “Fear not, for God hath heard the voice of the lad where he is.... And God opened her eyes, and she saw a well of water; and she went, and filled the bottle with water, and gave the lad drink. And God was with the lad” (Genesis 21:17, 19, 20). Hagar’s prayers were answered, and her and her son’s lives spared.
Religious pioneer Mary Baker Eddy was at various times in her life homeless, widowed, a single mother, and in poor health. Before her discovery of Christian Science, she had yet another setback, a serious fall that caused internal injuries. Desperate for help the physicians could not give her, she opened her much-loved Bible, and she lifted her thought to God. Her heartfelt prayers were answered. She caught a glimpse, from reading an account of one of Christ Jesus’ healings, that life truly is in and of God, who is Spirit. As a result of this newfound understanding, her health was restored and her life opened up with wonderful new opportunities and possibilities. We can all turn to this same God to find that He heals every discord.
Mrs. Eddy later wrote in her Christian Science textbook, “Divine Love always has met and always will meet every human need” (“Science and Health with Key to the Scriptures,” p. 494). Through her deep and inspired study of the Bible, she saw that this was a divine law – that we have, so to speak, a well of water before us, an infinite supply of spiritual good from God that manifests itself in tangible ways, as we become more conscious of this ever-present good.
Years ago, my prayers for mankind led to a wonderful opportunity to volunteer as an English teacher on weekends in a refugee house in Munich. Knowing that the needs of every man, woman, and child in that house and everywhere could be met through an understanding of divine Love was a great comfort to me at the time – and it is especially so today. It was divine Love that supplied me with the ideas I needed to teach effectively. The family I worked closely with was particularly receptive to the lessons and expressed their immeasurable gratitude for what they had learned. It enabled them to move on from the refugee house toward opportunity in new lands.
Anyone looking to help humanity has the support of divine Love. God’s “angels,” His spiritual thoughts that come to us in prayer, are there to guide us and others as well. They are opening our eyes to divine Love’s presence and care – sound reasons for hope.