They are headlined as mindless tragedies - the shootings, druggings, burnings , abuses, that menace our lives. We see too vividly how aberrant behavior ends. How can we deal with these random dangers? How can we cope with the fear they arouse?
Inexplicable evil has been part of the human scene throughout history. Long ago the Psalmist cried, ''Draw me not away with the wicked, and with the workers of iniquity, which speak peace to their neighbours, but mischief is in their hearts.'' And in the same song he also said: ''The Lord is my strength and my shield; my heart trusted in him, and I am helped.'' n1
n1 Psalms 28:3, 7.
Terrible news developments can trigger a desire to reassess our trust in good , and to insist on Godliness as the true nature of man. For man innately is something far more dependable and honorable than a fragile network of impulses or influences. Many individuals have developed the habit of responding to reports of suicidal events and devastation with a strong mental protest: ''But that is not God's man, and evil cannot touch the man of His creating.''
Such firm conviction helps block the spread of alarm, enlightens reason, calms and protects neighbors. Such turning to God in order to understand man as His upright, cared-for spiritual offspring reinforces the trust spoken of so often through earliest Bible times. That trust links man and divine authority. Divine authority naturally touches the conscience and activity of humanity, bringing freedom from the terrors of mortality. The deliverance of the children of Israel (after so much persecution and so many years in the wilderness), the survival of Elijah and David, the triumph of Christ Jesus against evil of all kinds, illustrate the powerful presence of God, good.
The Discoverer of Christian Science and founder of this newspaper, Mary Baker Eddy, stressed the importance of spiritually uplifted thought. Writing in Science and Health with Key to the Scriptures, she says, ''The conceptions of mortal, erring thought must give way to the ideal of all that is perfect and eternal.'' And on the next page she writes, ''Hold thought steadfastly to the enduring, the good, and the true, and you will bring these into your experience proportionably to their occupancy of your thoughts.'' n2
n2 Science and Health, pp. 260,261.
Many times I've wrestled with fears about my own safety and the safety of loved ones. Sometimes the fear has taken the form of speculation about danger that has no basis either in reason or probability. There have been forebodings, apprehensions, apparently from nowhere. At all times prayer is vital. One must listen for God's guidance, which confirms His supreme power and authority across the human scene. The briefest moment of quiet communion with our Father-Mother, in which we realize His care for all of His children, calms fear and stabilizes the ability to think clearly.
''There is no door through which evil can enter, and no space for evil to fill in a mind filled with goodness,'' Mrs. Eddy writes. ''Good thoughts are an impervious armor; clad therewith you are completely shielded from the attacks of error of every sort. And not only yourselves are safe, but all whom your thoughts rest upon are thereby benefited.'' And she says farther along in the same article, ''Goodness involuntarily resists evil.'' n3
n3 The First Chrch of Christ, Scientist, and Miscellany, p. 210.
But the question persists, Can there be evil persons who are immune to the power of God, good? Are some dangers beyond the authority of omnipresent God? These challenges have secure answers in the life and teachings of Christ Jesus. He healed two demoniacs who dwelled in the tombs. (See Matthew 8:28-33.) He exposed sin and restored sinners to their normal selves. (See, for example, Luke 7:37-50.) And he did his works of healing and restoration on the basis of God's presence with man. As the Lord's Prayer states, ''For thine is the kingdom, and the power, and the glory, for ever.'' n4
n4 Matthew 6:13.
Our hearts yearn to help anyone touched by reckless destruction. One sure way to help them, to help our community at large and our own loved ones, is to refuse to be mesmerized by fear, or to accept desperate, devious acts as inevitable or unavoidable. In the face of despair we can choose to help each other by steadily looking to God as the real power and preserver of man. He does not cause evil. The closer we draw to our Father-Mother in prayer, the nearer the comfort that wipes away tears, rules out wrath, and elevates individuals to a recognition of their true selfhood. DAILY BIBLE VERSE The Lord shall be my confidence, and shall keep thy foot from being taken. Proverbs 3:26.