Newspaper article The Christian Science Monitor

God Is in That Place ... ; Bringing a Spiritual Perspective to Daily Life

Newspaper article The Christian Science Monitor

God Is in That Place ... ; Bringing a Spiritual Perspective to Daily Life

Article excerpt

My heart was very heavy.

In a week's time, I was scheduled to leave for a trip to Bosnia to see what kind of changes had happened there in the five years since the end of a devastating civil war. I had done a lot of research for my trip, trying to understand more about this part of the world. Reading about the centuries-old ethnic hatreds and rivalries that spilled over again in the early 1990s, during the break-up of the former Yugoslavia, left me with a feeling of great despair. I began asking myself why on earth I would even want to go to such a place.

A few days before I was to leave, I went to a weekly meeting at my church, where the congregation shared inspiration and told about spiritual healings they'd had. One man spoke about how relying on God's guidance had led to the successful completion of a project in his home that had posed a variety of difficulties. His simple prayer, he said, was to know, "God is in that place, and good is going on." And then he added, "And that's true whether we're talking about Washington D.C., or Bosnia."

My spirits lifted immediately. I felt I had been given the guidance and comfort I needed to make my trip. For me, these simple words were a powerful recognition of the goodness and allness of God. During the three weeks I was in Bosnia, I prayed daily to understand that "God is in [this] place, and good is going on." Although I knew I had to honestly examine the challenges still confronting the country, I also deeply desired to be a witness to God's present goodness. I wanted to glimpse something of what the Psalmist says: "...the earth is full of the goodness of the Lord" (33:5).

I did hear many stories of loss and lingering hatred during my trip, and every day I confronted difficult reminders of the destruction of war. But I also found remarkable stories of individual forgiveness and determination to rebuild, a desire to create communities that would not easily be torn apart by war once again.

Although these hopeful signs sometimes seemed outweighed by the enormity of what the country had gone through - and is still going through - I stayed with my simple prayer, and I've continued to stay with it since my return home. …

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