“And he (God) said, Go forth, and stand upon the mount before the Lord. And, behold, the Lord passed by, and a great and strong wind rent the mountains, and brake in pieces the rocks before the Lord; but the Lord was not in the wind: and after the wind an earthquake; but the Lord was not in the earthquake: and after the earthquake a fire; but the Lord was not in the fire: and after the fire a still small voice.” (I Kings 19: 11, 12).
“And when he was demanded of the Pharisees, when the kingdom of God should come, he answered them and said, The kingdom of God cometh not with observation: Neither shall they say, Lo here! or, lo there! for, behold, the kingdom of God is within you.” (Christ Jesus, Luke 17: 20, 21).
On this material plane of thought, where all things appear to be physical in substance, physics is generally accepted as the science of reality. Material cause and effect is accepted as law. Invisible, spiritual forces (if accepted at all) are viewed as “other worldly” influences that have little to do with life in the here and now. The activity of cause and effect in matter is something we experience every day, so the source of this cause and seeming effect isn't questioned very often. Thus, physical forces such as magnetism, gravity, space-debris accidents, can seem like awesome powers, here in the material environment we appear to live within.
Since the physical universe, as perceived by the five physical senses, seems so real, God is erroneously credited with creating both the material universe and all the disharmony and disasters which occur in our lives. Not perceiving the spiritual and actual universe of everlasting harmony which God created, we dwell in a lower level of consciousness which translates spiritual substance into physical form. We call that real which only our physical senses perceive, leaving the spiritual kingdom of God, to be re-discovered only as we awaken spiritually through moments of individual enlightenment.
Just as our nightly dreams give us another reality, which seems real to the our sleeping self until we awake in the morning and realize that we weren't in the dream after all, so too our earthly, material experience seems real to our state of mind at the moment, until we realize we aren't at our full conscious level of existence. Dwelling in a material environment and body, separated from our spiritual source, seems real to us, in every sense of the word. Yet it's the stuff dreams are made of. The global, and even cosmic disasters, which continue to afflict our planet (the physical sense of Earth) should not be credited to God, any more that the evils which our nightly dreams produce.
As the children of a loving God, however, we must realize that earthquakes, tsunamis, hurricanes, tornadoes, floods, are not God's fault; although listening for God's direction can deliver us from such evils, right in the midst of our belief in their power. These extremes in weather, atmosphere, and shifting earth, are the result of our belief in a kingdom (material universe) divided against itself—a place that is self-destructive, chaotic, under no intelligent control. These things are the result of our collective belief in a kingdom apart from God and, thus, apart from the Almighty's loving, harmonious control over all.
Yet, in God's eternal, spiritual creation, there are no dangerous forces to be fought. God's universe has no 'natural disasters'. God didn't create an imperfect, finite, material creation. Why would infinite Spirit do that? Nothing about matter is lasting. Nothing about matter is even real. All substance in the spiritual universe of God's creating is spiritual—even the substance of our real bodies. The divine Intelligence IS in control of the true, spiritual creation, which has no imperfections, accidents, or mishaps. That's why it's eternal. And that's also why we are wise to find this true creation and dwell within it, rather than within the material scene before our eyes. We must open our mental eyes and see that physical existence is a state of self-deception—a collective dream of sorts—a delusion over consciousness of everyone experiencing it together. The real kingdom of God, which Christ Jesus said is within us (our consciously mental awareness) is invisibly present, right where the material universe seems to exist, with all its dangers. But being spiritually unenlightened, we don't perceive the universe of Spirit at all.
Not so surprising, planet Earth, spinning and moving in its orbit around the sun, is not immune to the physical beliefs and the disasters that result from the false and precarious material sense of universe, which we all entertain in thought. Rotating on a slightly tipped axis (said to have been possibly produced by an ancient meteor or asteroid hit) the earth battles stresses every day. For example, rivers change course, over time, as the planet slightly moves or wobbles in its rotation and orbit around the sun.
Since nothing in the material universe is perfect, this trip around the sun isn't even an exact path. Forces and stresses upon the earth vary somewhat, day after day, as the planet moves through space. Atmospheric and oceanic changes, when more harmonic, produce gentle, timely rainfall. When out of whack, they produce tornadoes, hurricanes, and floods. When the magma toward the earth's core builds up, volcanoes erupt. When the stresses upon the shifting earth grow too great for balance, earthquakes ensue. Creation, viewed from a material standpoint, shows no intelligence keeping these things from happening; it just seems that mindless forces rule the universe. So, people treat these occurrences as “acts of God” when they destroy homes, wipe out whole towns and islands, and even physically kill people. Earthly extremes and disasters are commonly seen as God's Will—when God didn't do it at all.
When viewing the eruption of volcanoes, severe storms, and even earthquakes in a more cosmic view of the material scene, we can see that, even physically, these things are good in their ultimate purpose. The tectonic plates shift (causing earthquakes) to keep the earth's crust in balance. We'd be a lot worse off if they didn't shift. By the time the pressure has built up to a 8 or 9 point quake, it should have quaked earlier. Volcanoes erupt when the magma builds up to dangerous-for-the-planet extremes. We'd be a lot worse off it they didn't erupt. Like a pressure cooker needs to let off steam to keep from exploding, the earth must let off the steam building within its center, or it would explode. In short, what we humanly view as adverse and often evil occurrences are really a protective response which the planet undergoes to maintain stability from the constant stresses of moving through space. The earth spills gases out and shifts water around to maintain it's balance in orbit.
Since we take the material universe at face value, one might think that we'd learn as much of this physical sense of world as we can. Civilizations, however, have never been wise in learning how to live on the earth. We aren't taught, as children, in any of our educational classes, how to live on the earth; even though, in this material plane of thought, Earth is our home. We don't try to understand how the planet operates in its journey around the sun and through the solar system. We don't pay attention to the beliefs of physical cause and effect acting upon it. In fact, we've been building cities under the shadow of volcanoes for centuries. When old Pompey was buried by volcanic ash, the ancients probably insisted that they were being punished by God.
In today's world, we love the ocean beaches and pay small fortunes for beach front properties that are bound to be hit by hurricanes now and then. Not admitting to ourselves the risks we take in settling down in places of repeated disaster, we suffer loses of life and property, demanding that we have a right to live wherever we want. God (we decide) should protect us from Earth's need to maintain its balance and wholeness. In the middle of vast oceans, populations enjoy their small island 'paradises' even though their island is at constant risk of disappearing from some oceanic upheaval. Even in the middle of the US, away from the oceans, we've built farms on regular tornado alleys, and build towns on the edge of great, flooding rivers.
Now, there are going to be some risks no matter where we go on the planet. But it's a matter of degree: some risks are repetitive in a way that threatens life and limb, while others are less extreme. And although the Almighty doesn't 'give' us the disasters which occur when the earth is maintaining itself, God does give us the intelligence and wisdom to study our environment and take these planetary risks into account when choosing where and how we live. For example, when I was young, we lived about twelve blocks from the Mississippi River. We were flooded out twice in about four years, before the sensible people in the town realized that if they moved to houses further away from the river, no new flood would bother them. (Recently, while visiting my hometown, my husband fell in love with the Mississippi and said that maybe we could get a small place on the river when we retired. I quickly pointed up to the high bluffs a few miles beyond and said, “No, trust me—that's the place to live around here.”)
Recently, I met a woman who grew up in California. I asked her how she liked the less exciting Midwest after having the sunshine and gorgeous west coast, and she expressed one of the most intelligent assessments for living on the planet that I've heard. She said that, having grown up with repetitive earthquakes, she had never analyzed the risk; it was all she'd known. But once she and her husband had their children, she watched her shelves shaking, one day, and realized that there was a great risk that, at some time, at least one of the members of her own family would be a victim of a quake. She said that there were so many places to be trapped in today's California. If trying to flee a place, the tremendous traffic wouldn't allow it. In the cities, falling buildings would have you trapped. Building in canyons only invited forest fires, and the mudslides were particularly unpredictable. In short, she loved the California of her youth, with less population and the wider open spaces; but both she and her husband had assessed the risk and found it too high for them, and their children, today.
Now, there will be thousands of people who think I'm knocking California. I'm not. My husband and I are actually planning a trip to California soon. I have cousins who love it out there. The main point I'm trying to make with this illustration is that this couple did assess the risks involved in the repetitive, so-called natural disasters occurring on the west coast of the US today, and, therefore, had they decided to stay there rather than move, this couple would have never blamed God for any injury any of them received. They'd have clearly seen, and remembered, that they'd had the freedom to stay or go, and had chosen to stay. If an earthquake occurred in an earthquake region, it wasn't an act of God. It was a place of earthquakes, where the planet let's off pressure.
In maintaining its equilibrium, the earth (or Mother Nature, as it's commonly called) is going to continue to have extreme incidents as it hurls through space and rotates on its axis. The more we stay out of the clearly-identified danger zones, the safer we'll be. These things have existed on the planet since before our time.
Yet, spiritually speaking, there is a safety we can find, even while in the midst of such upheavals. One woman I met from Ft. Myers, Florida, said that she had prayed her way through all the hurricanes that Florida has experienced in the last couple of years, and her home (not far from the beach) had never been touched, except once, in a minor way. Instead of fleeing from the hurricane, she'd felt spiritually confidence that her family, and their home, were safe in God's keeping. Houses were blown down around them, but their home was still safe and sound. She said she listened for God's voice, and only once did she believe they were meant to leave. They did so, and when they returned, only some minor damage had occurred to the house; but had they been there, one of them might have been injured. God had protected them, by letting her know when to leave.
Unless one is spiritually tuned to hearing the divine voice within, (such as that woman) I wouldn't urge anyone to stay in the middle of a disaster area. The all-knowing, all-seeing Intelligence is able to deliver us from any materially threatening situation—but one must be tuned to the divine directive within, and peacefully confident concerning it. Spiritual confidence is everything, in order for deliverance to occur; if fear is present, confidence in God's kingdom and power is not present in thought, and the transformation of the material scene won't happen. “For thus saith the Lord God...In returning and rest shall ye be saved; in quietness and in confidence shall be your strength:” (Isaiah 30: 15). My interpretation of this biblical statement is that in returning to our awareness of God's invisible presence, power, and kingdom, we are already safe, in the midst of any seeming material danger. But we must have trust and confidence in this recognition, or it won't over-ride the mental beliefs creating the 'storm' around us. Our own belief is so important, in any and all situations. Christ Jesus said, “As thou hast believed, so it be done unto thee:” (Matthew 8: 13). This means that our own beliefs affect the outcome of any situation.
In the quotation at the beginning of this article, Elijah the Prophet, is listening within himself to God's revelation about natural, earthly disasters, instructing Elijah that “God is not in” the wind, earthquake or fire. Instead, God is only found in the still small voice within us. We are linked to God in our very consciousness. This is what is meant by, “For in Him we live, and move, and have our being;” (Acts 17: 28;). Consciousness is where our oneness with God exists. We must seek out and listen to this voice within, not just when we're in trouble. In this quiet, inner voice, we hear the instructions from divine Intelligence of how to save ourselves when such catastrophic occurrences are about to ensue. If we listen to this inner wisdom, we'll also hear the way to avoid becoming future victims of such disasters.
There are many stories (not just in the Bible) about the great, global flood that occurred in ancient times. Nearly every culture has a story of those who survived the flood, by listening to the still, small voice within. Since God is within our very being, no doubt all have heard this voice (saving thoughts) but these loving thoughts are so often ignored. Sometimes we even argue with these saving intuitions and directions, because they go against our own will in the matter. Not having (humanly) the all-seeing, all-knowing capacity of the Infinite God, however, we learn too late that we sabotaged our own safety by not following our 'common sense'. For the intelligent 'common sense' itself is really the divine voice of God, free to all.
Sometimes a storm or quake might present no personal danger; at other times, it might be headed right for us. Thus, infinite wisdom might direct us one way in one instance, and another way in another. Note that in the biblical account of Noah and the flood, God (the still voice within) directed Noah to build an ark to ride out the flood waters. Noah was not directed to stop the flood, nor was God stopping the flood, which didn't actually exist in God's spiritual kingdom. But to anyone listening to the infinite Intelligence within, protection from the flood waters was given to whoever was listening. (Almost every culture on Earth has a flood story of those who were saved by the divine influence within.)
It has always interested me that no one on Earth was spiritually enlightened enough, during the great flood, to stop it. Christ Jesus was able to calm the storm on the Dead Sea, but no spiritual one stopped the flood. (To bring the divine harmony into the material dream of existence, at least one spiritually-enlightened individual must be present to have the divine harmony take physical form.) Then it occurred to me, that the flood might have been required to balance the planet after some cosmic upheaval, like a large meteor or asteroid hit. The global flood might have been a “quick fix” for the Earth to maintain its equilibrium and not self-destruct. Still, when appealed to and trusted, the divine Wisdom within was ready and able to protect and direct people around the globe who were listening to it.
A few near-disasters in my own life have taught me to be more sensitive to this inner, divine intuition. (I may have written this account before, but it bears repeating here.) One rainy night, as my husband and I were driving on an interstate toward Chicago, the rain had abated, making the traffic somewhat faster. All of a sudden, it came to my thought to pull over for a few minutes and wait. I didn't know why, but the thought came to me a couple of times, quietly, without urgency or fear. I asked my husband to pull off the highway because I felt something might be wrong. (He did so, I think, because I'd never requested that before.) He asked what I was feeling, and I said I didn't know. I only felt that I'd been told, from within, to pull off the road and wait.
After about four or five minutes, I 'heard' from within that it was now safe to go. We did so, and several miles down the road, we came upon a massive accident on the interstate, in our lane, where many cars had piled up. Emergency lights were flashing, and ambulances were beginning to arrive. Had we proceeded five minutes earlier, we would have been part of it. Only the far left lane was open as we passed by, but we continued on, safely and without delay.
In my own assessment of that incident, I'm quite sure that other drivers on the highway, at the time, had received that same intuition within them. Some had probably taken precautions (slowing down, etc.) and others hadn't. The divine consciousness is within everyone and lovingly cares for all, so in no way do I believe that I was the only one to receive it. (I am a practiced listener, though.) Yet, even my husband pulled over without argument. I think he mentally felt something too.
While we will continue to have accidents, trials and tribulation in our fleshly lives and material environment, our link to the divine Intelligence and infinite awareness of Spirit within us is our saving Source of all human woe. This divine consciousness is lovingly, mentally, trying to reach and awaken us out of our spiritual unawareness, bringing more harmony to our days here, on this material level of thought. Our physical senses (sight, hearing, touch, taste, smell) do nothing to connect us with the spiritual harmony of God's creation that is ever-present, though unperceived. The physical senses will only report the material scene—never spiritual reality.
Thus, whatever violent storms, disasters or accidents happen today or tomorrow on earth, God didn't do it! But the infinite Intelligence knows the way out. Only the still, small voice within guards and guides our footsteps as we go, showing us the intelligence and perception that will keep any disaster from harming us. Like Christ Jesus, walking, untouched, through an angry mob, we will survive whatever material evils and earth forces threaten us, when listening for the quiet voice of God. Even while nations ignore this voice, individuals within nations are still free to listen and act, knowing that the love of God, which saves us from the effects of disasters, certainly never brought us the disaster to begin with. The key to more safety is two-fold. Step one: we must use that common sense that keeps us from stepping in front of a moving truck; and, Step two: we must learn the art of spiritual listening. In that still small voice, we are all safe, forever—even if we ignored step one.