God's gentling presence

I had never known such a complete feeling of peace.

I was strolling through a meadow near my house. It was a pleasant walk along a quiet, worn path that curved through grasses and wildflowers and led to an unhurried brook. This tranquil scene was refreshing, but the serenity I felt that day transcended the inspiration of nature - it came from God.

Just before I stepped out, a healing had taken place. I had been in bed that afternoon with a painful illness and was thrashing about mentally and physically trying to find rest. Turning to God for healing, I strove to follow the Biblical counsel, ''Be still, and know that I am God.''n1

n1 Psalms 46:10.

The phrase ''gentle presence'' came to mind. It's from ''The Mother's Evening Prayer,'' a poem by Mary Baker Eddy, the Discoverer and Founder of Christian Science. The first verse reads: O gentle presence, peace and joy and power; O Life divine, that owns each waiting hour, Thou Love that guards the nestling's faltering flight! Keep Thou my child on upward wing tonight. n2

n2 Poems, Pg. 4

What a comfort it was to be reminded that God's gentleness, His peace, joy, and power, were with me right then and there, right where quite the opposite appeared to have place and power. As I began to realize this more fully, the commotion of thought and body subsided. I could feel God's gentle presence - it was infinitely more palpable than the pain. The silent, tender message of Christ , Truth, was cutting right through the turmoil of the material senses and speaking to me, through spiritual sense, of God's omnipotence and the consequent impotence of sickness.

Soon I fell asleep for a short time. I woke thoroughly healed. I felt a deep spiritual stillness. It was the tangible gentle presence of the healing Christ and the perfect peace of knowing God.

You too can know this holy peace. Right now, wherever you are, however trying the circumstances you may face, you can turn to God and feel His presence through the gentling touch of the Christ.

Christian Science teaches that the Christ's tender, healing influence is everpresent to still the storms in our lives. Today, as in Jesus' time, the Christ is the eternal Truth that rescues us from the nightmare of believing that life and man are material, separate from God and outside His control. It reassures us that God is good, the only true presence there is, and that man, His spiritual offspring, is forever established in the perfect peace of the one divine Mind.

Christ Jesus fully exemplified the true idea of God. To him, the divine power and presence were not mere theological abstractions; he understood them as scientific, demonstrable facts, and he proved them to be so through healing sin and disease, and raising the dead.

Once when Jesus and his disciples were at sea, a sudden violent storm developed. Fearing for their lives, the disciples went to Jesus, who had been sleeping right through the turbulence. They woke him, and the Bible records, ''He arose, and rebuked the wind, and said unto the sea, Peace, be still. And the wind ceased, and there was a great calm.''n3

n3 Mark 4:39.

When we're disquieted, we can humbly seek to realize more of the saving Christ with us. Nothing else can bring genuine peace. Tranquilizers, sedatives, and therapy induce an artificial calm that masks, and thereby perpetuates, the basic cause of anxiety - the mistaken belief that evil shares the throne of power with God, when in fact God is All-in-all. Such material remedies are no substitute for the joy of feeling divine Love's tender care.

Whether we're troubled by physical suffering, conflicts at work, a tormenting memory of the past, fear, or some other problem, we can steadfastly acknowledge God's gentling presence and rebuke the disturbing belief that a baneful, ungodlike presence can have a place in His allness and a hold on us. Through such Christian prayer, harmony is restored. The storm is halted by Christ's ''Peace, be still.'' DAILY BIBLE VERSE I have set the Lord always before me: because he is at my right hand, Ishall not be moved. psalms 16:86:10. 2 Poems, p. 4. 3 Mark 4:39.

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