So what is to be done? How can we live in peace? How can we care for each other if we are constantly feeling insecure, afraid, uncertain of our own future? How can we even be ourselves in such an environment?
Having suffered through all these trials, and many others besides, I believe that through grace, I have been given the answer to this. And the answer is to turn away from the world and worldy things. We are beings of love, and our focus should be on loving each other. Our destiny is to develop as spiritual beings, not to gain possessions and temporary worldy advantages.
But you may ask (as I did) surely we need food? Surely we need protection from the cold etc? Surely we need wariness when in dangerous situations? How can we not worry about these things? And the answer is (I believe) - yes, we certainly do need all these things. But a great conceit lies in the belief that you can solve all these problems, satisfy all wants, through your own effort or by any material means. It is the arrogance in man that allows us to fall for this myth. Just look at the super rich - are they secure? Why then the gated communities in so many areas? Why then the security guards and home security systems? If wealth gives safety and certainty, why then the need for all these things and to constantly keep accumulating more? Clearly the answer does not lie on this path.
So what to do? What is the alternative? Let me suggest the opposite path: absolute humility. Accept your weakness, accept that you need food and many other things beside and that no amount of effort on your part will ever guarantee these things. Instead accept your dependence on God to provide all. This is an act of faith and I believe the development of such faith is absolutely necessary to one's overall spiritual development. It does not mean you should do nothing, we all must work to serve each other. What it means is that if we all focus on serving each other and caring for each other - and we trust in God for all our own needs - then everyone's needs will be provided for. Such a society is not possible until everyone has enough trust in God to leave their fears and insecurities behind. However, for individuals, this is possible at any time.
We are told to 'be as children', and that God is our father. I think we need to take this advice quite seriously. Children also know that they need to eat, they know that they need clothing and shelter. Yet, they typically worry not about these things, trusting in their parents to provide, and taking whatever is given with gratitute. Have you ever seen children create great store houses of food in case of emergency? Do they devote their time to accumulating wealth and treasures because of fear of some future need? I would say very rarely, if ever, has such a thing occurred. Children instead are more focussed on being with their friends, and perhaps so should we be. Wouldn't it be better to be motivated not by fear, but by love? Should we really be doing things we detest out of fear of future need, or rather seeking to do what is best to provide and care for others?
What would be the practical benefits of a full faith and trust in God? Let us look at what is happening in Sao Paulo (Brazil) right now. There is a serious drought (due to razing the Amazon forests). A city of 20 million people has now been without water for some months. How are people coping? Not well it seems. Here is an extract from a report on this:
"But to Berger’s dismay, the meeting quickly descended into furious argument:“I’d always imagined people would try and help each other out in a crisis situation,” she says. “But it’s not what happened at all.”
“People were really, really shouting at each other,” says Berger. “I left after a while – I couldn’t stand it. I heard one person saying that elderly residents are at home all day and use more water, so they should pay more.”
“It was like a horror film,” says the building manager, Maria Aurilene Santana. “No one seemed able to agree on anything.”
Why is this so? On explanation is as follows:
"According to a crisis report published on 9 February by the pressure group Aliança Pela Água (Water Alliance), whereas catastrophic situations like flooding often fosters solidarity, a lack of resources tends to do the opposite, leading to chaos and even violence."
Now I cannot be sure how I would act in such a situation. But I am of the belief that a far better alternative is for people to have faith in God that He will look after them and either give what is needed, or strengthen them to cope with its lack. In relation to being strenghtened to cope, I have written on this before in relation to my own experience here. Of course, if we look at the cause of this problem - the removal of the Amazon forests - one may well ask what role human greed (perhaps driven by fear of want?) has played in creating this problem? Therefore I draw to your attention our Father's words in relation to material needs:
"But seek ye first the kingdom of God, and his righteousness; and all these things shall be added unto you."
It is a call to faith in God. If we focus on love and spiritual things, then everything else we need will be forthcoming. And no doubt without all the fear and its associated greed and conflict.