by Rev. Crystal Muldrow

“God is our refuge and strength,
a very present help in trouble.”
—Psalm 46:2

Perhaps you have heard the saying, “Into each life some rain must fall.” It seems like our world is experiencing more of a surge? We have had an unprecedented year of natural disasters, there are four major wars on going, and domestic terrorism and civil upheaval seem to continue to spiral out of control.

We all find that we are pained in some form by the devastating times and as we are witnessing the suffering of so many. Pain is a part of life. We all experience it. We will experience it again. The important question: How do we respond to it? Do we hide or isolate ourselves from it with distance or walls? Do we let it be, suffer through it? Or, do we turn our pain and suffering to action for positive change. There is no perfect answer as it depends on the situation and circumstances. For every pain, there’s a time to escape it, and a time to face it. I believe that most of us have been escaping the realities of our world. It is time for us to face the suffering in the world, shift our negative race consciousness, and agree to place the lives of others, near and far as our priority.

Charles Fillmore stated, “Pain is inevitable, suffering is optional.” Many people, domestically and internationally, are suffering. Suffering would not be an option for societies that are war torn or beaten up by natural disasters if we as humans conspired to aid each other until we all could live in peace and in conditions that are not subhuman. If we would commit to each other that together we will rise, then the suffering of this would world fade. Pain will happen. Suffering would be minimal. Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King said, “The ultimate measure of a man is not where he stands in moments of comfort and convenience, but where he stands at times of challenge and controversy.” We are in challenging times. Where do we stand? What do we do? Of course, the power of prayer should never be underestimated and is the first response to any challenge. Pray not only for aid for the people who are suffering, pray not only for peace…pray asking God what is mine to do and how do I do it? Then, follow Unity’s 5th principle: “Do it.”

In honor of all who have passed both in natural and tragic ways this year, let us hold this Cinco de Mayo prayer by Karen Barber in our hearts:

Dear God of all nations, we come to you today as we celebrate this victory over superior forces.  We pray for our own times of struggles against forces that are much bigger than our own strength and power.   We remember the Bible account of David and Goliath and how David defeated a giant with a slingshot and a stone.  We pray that we will have David’s confidence and trust in you when he said, “Let no one lose heart on account of this Philistine; your servant will go and fight him.”  (I Samuel 17:32)…

I thank you that “I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me,” (Philippians 4:13) in my personal life in the battles and struggles I am facing.  And I thank you that our families, communities and countries can work together to help those who need your protection, strength and encouragement.I now join in the joyous celebration of dancing and feasting because of the goodness of your salvation and your presence in the face of all earthly troubles past, present and future.  Amen.

As we continue to hold everyone in prayer and continue to seek how we can be used to help other, let us remember that life comes back. With everything that has been destroyed, new life is built.“I have set my rainbow in the clouds, and it will be the sign of the covenant between me and the earth.” (Gen. 9:13) Even in the face of huge loss and ravaging storms, hard times do not hold the final say over our lives.  God is a Refuge.