If all creation is guarded by God, isn’t the term “natural disaster” a bit ironic? How can a disaster be considered “natural” if goodness and harmony are what’s real?
In praying about Hurricane Sandy here on the east coast, I have enjoyed thinking about a hymn from the Christian Science Hymnal. It begins, “In heavenly Love abiding, / No change my heart shall fear” (No. 148, Anna L. Waring)—a comforting thought in the face of predictions of flooding and damage.
Two summers ago while climbing a 14,000 ft mountain out in Colorado, two friends and I encountered a storm as we were just 200 feet from the peak. Not only were the rain and lightning coming right at us, we were well above treeline and would not be able to descend faster than the storm was approaching. We hid ourselves in some nearby boulders and immediately turned to prayer. We decided to listen for divine guidance and humbly agreed that we would follow whatever course seemed wisest and safest.
My friend began to hum Hymn 148 as we prayed together, and I recalled the line, “The storm may roar without me.” I prayed diligently to know that exact statement could also apply to our situation. The apparently impending danger did not need to include us as God’s spiritual ideas. Nor did we need to fear this sudden change in weather conditions!
The apparently impending danger did not need to include us, God’s spiritual ideas.
In our quiet, prayerful space, I also began thinking about several accounts I had read in the biography Mary Baker Eddy, Christian Healer in which Eddy’s prayer dispelled severe storms. For example, Clara Shannon, one of the workers in Eddy’s home in Pleasant View, tells of a time a cyclone was approaching the house. She quotes Mary Baker Eddy as saying, “There are no clouds to hide God’s face, and there is nothing that can come between the light and us—it is divine Love’s weather” (p. 355). Another account is given by Eddy’s student Clara Knox McKee: “One day Mrs. Eddy called her students into her study and pointed to a very black cloud, shaped like a cornucopia, coming toward the house in direct line with her front study window. She asked each one to go to a window and face it, and to realize that there were no destructive elements in God’s creation. While the cyclone came whirling straight toward Pleasant View, before it reached within a mile or so, it parted and went around Concord into the mountains, doing very little damage in our neighborhood” (We Knew Mary Baker Eddy, Expanded Edition, p. 465).
In recalling these accounts, I knew that it was possible to still this storm, as well, operating along the same lines in knowing that destruction is simply not a part of God’s creation. We didn’t have to be impressed by the dark clouds. I knew God’s presence was still with us atop the mountain.
Though we experienced slight hail, the storm almost immediately dispelled. In fact, we were even able to peak the mountain as planned, and enjoyed a beautifully sunny hike back. All in all, it was a great day, though this example of complete protection was definitely the highlight!
Looking to the Bible, we find several accounts of individuals demonstrating control over the weather. For example, in Mark we read about Jesus stilling a storm while he and his disciples were at sea (Mark 4:36-41). Interestingly enough, Jesus’ disciples had to wake him to still the storm because he was asleep on a pillow. After addressing their fear, he rebuked the wind and said three words to the sea, which brought about calm: “Peace, be still” (Mark 4:39).
We can spiritually respond to reports of tempestuous weather by quelling any sense of fear. It’s important to remember that each one of us reflects wisdom as an expression of God, divine Mind—but we needn’t be caught up in fearful reports we may hear or read about. Destruction isn’t ever inevitable, because God’s laws of harmony are constantly governing the universe.
I am comforted by another hymn, written by Mary Baker Eddy, which says, “For storm or shine, pure peace is thine, / Whate’er betide” (Christian Science Hymnal, No. 160). No matter what the apparent circumstances—whether they be an approaching storm, a destructive financial situation, or a troubled relationship—we have the divine right to experience “pure peace” and equanimity, knowing that God is governing and that His presence may be felt.
Heather K. Libbe is a Christian Science practitioner. She lives in Boston, Massachusetts.