Protection from rape

A young woman studying overseas had attended a Wednesday evening testimony meeting in a branch Church of Christ, Scientist. One thought, in particular, had stayed with her as she left the meeting. A testifier had said, with deep conviction, that ''nothing aggressive can ever touch our true being.'' The next day the visitor saw proof of this spiritual fact.

En route to a dance, her date said he had left something at his place and asked if she would mind if they stopped by his apartment to pick it up. The apartment was on the way, so she agreed without hesitation.

Once in the apartment, however, it became obvious he had other intentions. He slammed and locked the door, saying he did not want to go to the party but wanted to make love. Before she could say anything, he picked her up and carried her to the bed.

Physically the young woman felt helpless. As she struggled with her assailant , however, she reached out in prayer to God. ''Father, help me!'' was all that she could manage at first; but then the words from the testimony came to mind, and she had a strong sense of God's ever-presence and all-power. She knew that, in spite of appearances, God was in complete control of her life and this man's, and that nothing untoward could happen to either of them.

As they continued to struggle, the young woman mentally insisted on the spiritual facts as she had learned them in Christian Science - that man is indeed the image of God, as the Bible says; that as such, he is entirely spiritual, good, and pure; that he is obedient to God, to Principle, Truth, and Love, and cannot in reality do anything ungodlike; that all of God's children dwell in peace and cannot harm or destroy one another. She knew with conviction that God does not lead us into temptation but delivers us from evil, as Christ Jesus taught in the Lord's Prayer - and proved.

Quite suddenly - and for no apparent reason - the man let go of the woman and pulled away, saying, ''I'm terribly sorry . . . I don't know what's happened . . . This isn't me, this isn't me!'' He seemed stunned at his own behavior.

The woman scrambled to her feet, straightened her clothes, and headed for the door, which the man was unlocking. She was perfectly all right, and with genuine poise and dominion, which had come through prayer, she was able to reassure him that he too was safe and that God was in control. She knew without a doubt that in God's kingdom there are no victims or victimizers and that both of them were in the Father's care.

As she left the apartment she had a deep feeling of God's presence and was filled with a new understanding of the power of divine Love. She could honestly forgive her assailant, as Jesus had forgiven those who were crucifying him: ''Father, forgive them; for they know not what they do.'' n1 She had seen clearly that so-called carnal instincts are not more powerful than God; that man's true, spiritual nature cannot in reality be hidden by sensual appetites or passion; that man cannot be robbed of his God-given purity; and that man is never truly alone or helpless, a victim of chance or circumstance.

n1 Luke 23:34.

The attempted rape became an unexpected blessing. Not only was the young woman physically safe, but she had grown spiritually. As a result, she felt safer than ever before as she returned home that night. The experience brought to mind a passage written by Mary Baker Eddy, the Discoverer and Founder of Christian Science: ''Remember, thou canst be brought into no condition, be it ever so severe, where Love has not been before thee and where its tender lesson is not awaiting thee.'' n2 The lesson had indeed been ''tender,'' and the assurance of safety has remained.

n2 The First Church of Christ, Scientist, and Miscellany, pp. 149-150.

We need not be shocked by glaring headlines and sensational news items about crime. Violent attacks are not inevitable. They will diminish the more we discern man's true, spiritual nature and realize we are always in the care of omnipotent divine Love. Day or night we are actually safe in God's presence, expressing His nature. He is, indeed, ''our refuge and strength, a very present help in trouble.'' n3

n3 Psalms 46:1.

DAILY BIBLE VERSE Whoso putteth his trust in the lord shall be safe. Proverbs 29:25ellany, pp. 149-150. 3 Psalms 46:1.

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