Newspaper article The Christian Science Monitor

From Ruin to Restoration ; A Christian Science Perspective on Daily Life

Newspaper article The Christian Science Monitor

From Ruin to Restoration ; A Christian Science Perspective on Daily Life

Article excerpt

The scene of devastation was extreme. Walls were destroyed, gates burned, dwellings razed. Sorrow and discouragement must have been rampant.

But one man did more than weep.

In a detailed biblical account, we're told that Nehemiah mourned over the ruins of Jerusalem, his people's major city - and then he prayed, fasted, and set out to rebuild it. Less than two months later, the city walls and gates stood restored, sturdy and strong.

Prayer, fasting, and rebuilding add up to a great three-point plan for remediating any destruction. And, as Nehemiah's story shows, the success of the third is rooted in a commitment to the first two.

First, prayer. Turning to God with expectation, acknowledging His power and presence, opens the way to good. That's because God is the real source of all good, and He never withholds goodness from His creation. Thinking about God's nature makes it easy to tailor prayer to what's specifically needed - abundance for dearth, order for chaos, beauty for waste.

Such God-given qualities are more than human elements gone missing from a site or situation in ruins. Each quality of Spirit is spiritual, and therefore indestructible. So considering in prayer abundance, order, and beauty - or any divine quality - affirms the lasting, uninterrupted nature of their infinite source. This prayer replaces images of destruction with lively spiritual realities, which in turn bolster confidence and inspire action.

Next, fasting. In the face of devastation, whether shown graphically on TV or felt closer to home, a simple but firm discipline of thought keeps us alert to God's goodness. Choosing praise of Him over hand-wringing, and gratitude for good over recriminations or despair, enables us to be guided by wisdom.

Fasting mentally - maintaining our consciousness of God, free of human reaction - helps us detect and eliminate thoughts that oppose what is positive and constructive. …

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