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[from an editorial published in the January 2, 1995 issue of the Christian Science Sentinel]
A letter writer told us recently she’d shared copies of the Christian Science Sentinel with some friends. They liked what they read—the firsthand accounts of Christian healing today, and articles that helped them identify detrimental trends of thought while also showing how Christian Science addresses those trends in a healing way. Still, some of those new Sentinel readers raised an important question. With people throughout the world suffering and dying because of violence, natural disasters, disease, and so forth, they wanted to know, “Why would God let these things happen?”
An awful lot of questions follow a tragedy. What went wrong? How could this have been prevented? Who’s to blame? Why me? Why them? And there’s the question the readers raised, “Why would God let these things happen?”
A logical question. If God is “our refuge and strength, a very present help in trouble,” as we read in the Bible (Ps. 46:1), then where is His help?
First of all, the basic assumption behind such questions—that God cannot be relied upon, that He isn’t always with us, that He may not be powerful enough, or that He doesn’t always care for the needs of man—should be reconsidered. What the Bible tells us about God is that He is trustworthy and that He never changes. He is always present, all-powerful, and because He is divine Love, He is always caring for His creation.
The divine intelligence and power are here. They can never be absent. Spirit, Life, Truth, Love—all names for God—are self-existing and eternally self-expressing. They reveal the true nature of God, which never deviates; it never includes or permits evil of any kind. But there is a need to gain a clearer understanding of this fact. Humanity must grow in the recognition of what God is, of His constancy and supremacy, and of the harmony maintained by His law.
Spirit is expressed spiritually, not materially, and so all that Spirit is and does is perceived spiritually, through man’s God-given spiritual sense. The presence of good and God’s perpetual, perfect government of man are the absolute reality of His creation. Discerning and understanding this spiritual truth enable us to prove it in human experience.
On the other hand, ignorance of God hides the divine presence and power from us. It is ignorance of Life and its ceaseless expression, ignorance of Truth and its constancy, ignorance of Love and its unfailing care of all—not any absence of these—that leaves us feeling helpless, and subject to discord.
It follows that by expanding our understanding of God, by worshiping only Him and living in conformity with His laws, we eliminate ignorance, which enables us to bring our lives into harmony. It’s in this way, too, that we prevent discord.
What enables us to do this? The Christ. Like a ray of light shining in a dark room, the true idea of God penetrates ignorance and shows us what the physical senses can’t see. Christ reveals divine Truth and Life, right here. Jesus said of his Christly mission, “I am come that they might have life, and that they might have it more abundantly” (John 10:10).
What this means for us is that as we’re receptive to Christ, Truth, we become aware of the actual, spiritual nature of being and of God’s law in operation. However much we may have believed life to be material and in many ways uncontrollable, this false belief gradually yields to the truth. We learn that our true selfhood is Christly; that all things are made by God and express His nature—are made spiritual, pure, intact. We learn that God never for a moment allows His image and likeness, man, to depart from this perfect standard. Our deepest acceptance of these truths at once begins to correct and heal our lives, bringing them into accord with the reality of being.
Then comes a growing certainly that realizing and obeying these Christian and scientific truths are at the very heart of overcoming and preventing the troubles of human life. It’s not that God isn’t here or doesn’t care. It’s not that His laws are irrelevant, or that we don’t actually have the necessary power or intelligence to triumph over the many forms of evil. Quite the reverse. But we must learn what God is providing and avail ourselves of it in every way.
In Science and Health Mary Baker Eddy makes the point this way: “Who would stand before a blackboard, and pray the principle of mathematics to solve the problem? The rule is already established, and it is our task to work out the solution” (p. 3). The fundamental need, then, is to embody more of the divine nature and act in accord with divine law—to be Christlike. Jesus’ unmatched record of healing and protection certainly bears out the effectiveness of living in this way.
Everything we need to bring us into better health, into safekeeping, into harmony with one another, is right here. Advancing in our understanding and application of Science and living Christian lives, we take important steps forward in healthier and safer living, and we see that God doesn’t let bad things happen.