When reading about Hurricane Isaac’s visit to the east coast, I don’t need much imagination to picture what is going on or being left behind. Exactly one year ago, as a newspaper reporter, I was writing about Hurricane Irene, which swooped its way through our area in upstate New York. It was mind-boggling to see a water level raise six feet within a ten minute time period. It was gut-wrenching to hear about cows and hay bales floating away from farms. It was wearying to see tons of mud left behind in homes and businesses.
But, people have overcome. Businesses have reopened. Therefore, I have yet to buy into the notion that God was or is in charge of these disasters.
Maybe God was invented to explain the unexplainable, but human beings haven’t done all that great of a job explaining God. So, I also use life experiences to help me understand. And after half a century of evidence, I’ve concluded that God is Love, Life. Amidst all the disasters — probably invented by human beings also — God brings about goodness, people helping people, forgiveness, strength, moral courage, and wisdom.
Maybe I think this way because of the kind of people I know. For example, my sister, who lives in Washington State, recently survived the atrocious Taylor Bridge Fire, which took 16 days to contain, destroyed 61 homes and 35 outbuildings, involved more than 1,000 firefighters at its peak, and burned 23,000 acres.
The Taylor Bridge Fire started August 13 at a bridge within two miles of my sister’s home. “I saw smoke and realized the fire is moving faster than any fire truck,” said Denise Robinson. “I quietly prayed for a few seconds and that prayer kicked me into action. I went outside and got on the tractor to plow fire breaks. My strength came from God because we worked and worked for hours straight.” The neighbors on her hill all helped to save the animals. The few homes with people in them and a stone house were saved, but the other places burnt down with a terrific roar.
Catastrophes seem to imprint the brain. Writers Campbell Robertson and Kim Severson chronicled in the August 29 New York Times, “Seven years to the day that Hurricane Katrina and levee failures unleashed a deluge of devastation on the Gulf Coast, Hurricane Isaac brought its own distinctive mode of destruction on Wednesday, drenching the coast not with a quick blow but with an unremitting smothering.” My sister would have loved some of that rain.
Disasters and flashbacks are not a new phenomenon. During the reign of Jeroboam II of Israel (793–753 B.C.), the herdsman turned prophet, Amos, set out to warn the northern kingdom of Israel against their hypocrisy, idol worship, and empty rituals. Amos tried to provoke the nation to change their ways, or at least show kindness toward the impoverished. Amos tried to trigger some sort of response to improve behavior by asking the question, “When disaster comes to a city, has not the LORD caused it?” (Amos 3:6)
In answering Amos’ question, I would say, No, God did not and does not cause disasters. All calamities are an interpretation warp, an illusion in which human minds misinterpret what is going on with people and events by distorting thoughts and actions.
Thoughts and actions happen but are good or bad according to interpretation. Everything we see, hear, feel, and do is an interpretation and many of us are interested in finding a spiritual interpretation in order to find meaning and substance in life. Divine knowledge or divine Science reveals life, not at the mercy of tragedies and cataclysms, but as intelligence, Spirit. We, by means of spiritual interpretation, can know how to keep safe and triumph over adversity.
After the fire had passed over Robinson’s house and barn, she was in the house, thanking God for her energy but felt compelled to, “Put your shoes back on and go into the barn.” Robinson said, “The weather and air were so hot outside that things were igniting and I noticed smoke coming out of the barn.” Sawdust near her fuel tanks was combusting. She got back on her tractor and scooped dirt all over everything, saving the barn, again.
Was it the fire, or the tractor, or the dirt that had power? Was it the rain and flooding? Or was it divine Mind, Spirit and spiritual mindfulness — the thought force of Life that had power? From my book, 21st Century Science and Health, we read, “As a physical, theoretical life-basis is found to be a misinterpretation of existence, the scientific and divine Principle of our spirituality dawns upon human thought.” Over the years, I spend less and less time asking the weather or a physical body about life. As a spiritual seeker and an investigative reporter, I’ve found mass consciousness is learning to help themselves and others through mindful wisdom and love.
Guest Blogger Bio: Cheryl Petersen is a freelance writer and correspondent for The Delaware County Times. She and her husband raised two daughters plus fostered children for 15 years. They now live in upstate New York. Cheryl’s website is Healing Science Today and she blogs at Beliefnet. The 4th edition of Cheryl Petersen’s book, 21st Century Science and Health, has recently been released and can be found online.
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