`The storm may roar without me'
RAIN and wind pummeled the old building where I was staying. Trees bent at angles. This was the most violent storm I had ever seen, and I was becoming afraid. I feared for those in boats on the nearby ocean, and for those on land who were inadequately sheltered. I even wondered if the roof of the old building where I was could stand the strain of the winds. For half an hour I was totally absorbed by the intense conditions, but then I began to wonder if there was something I could do besides be afraid. I remembered how prayer had transformed my experience on countless occasions. Could prayer be practical in the presence of such an awesome physical force? I felt spiritually impelled to acknowledge God's presence, goodness, and omnipotence. Surely this would be more helpful than lamenting the devastating potential of the storm. So I began to pray. I recalled that the greatest teacher of mankind, Christ Jesus, had once asked his disciples why they feared a threatening storm.1 I wanted to understand how he could ask such a thing. I thought, ``Jesus knew, better than all others, that God was to be loved and trusted even in the most challenging situation.'' This led me to see that dwelling on fear and destruction was an inadvertent denial of God's love, of His constant care. So right in the midst of the raging storm, I affirmed the ever-present good ness and control of God, divine Love. Gradually I began to see that no physical power could turn off or interrupt God's government of man. My fear vanished. Before long the storm subsided. Although many trees and bushes were damaged, no individual was hurt, no home washed away. One of Jesus' analogies points to the importance of staying on the rock of faithful conviction even when we are besieged by storms. He describes two men constructing homes. One builds on a rock, the other builds on sand. Both homes are battered by a terrible storm. The house built on the rock withstands the onslaught, while the house built on the sand is washed away. Describing the second man's house, Jesus said, ``The rain descended, and the floods came, and the winds blew, and beat upon that house; and it fell: and great was the fall of it.'' 2 As we obey Jesus' teaching to not be afraid, we build our lives on sturdy rock. But if we neglect prayer and rehearse difficult situations, we are building on sand. When I changed my thought from fear to prayerful affirmation of God's unfailing control, I was changing my foundation from sand to rock. Our experiences may not be storm-free, but we are assured safety and victory to the extent we obediently trust God as our practical, saving Father. The superiority of God's power over any other apparent power is fundamental to the teachings of Christian Science. Mary Baker Eddy, the Discoverer and Founder of Christian Science, writes: ``Are we irreverent towards sin, or imputing too much power to God, when we ascribe to Him almighty Life and Love? I deny His cooperation with evil, because I desire to have no faith in evil or in any power but God, good.'' 3 Isn't this truth of God's absolute supremacy what Jesus proved? Didn't he demonstrate that no storm of sin, sickness, or lack could withstand the healing power of God's love? He taught that God is our loving Father, fully supplying us with the strength and authority to overcome discord. Jesus demonstrated that we need never be afraid, because man always dwells in the presence of divine Love. Our task is to remain faithfully responsive to God--to stay on the rock--even when challenged by storms of disease, fear, discouragement, and so forth. A loved hymn puts it this way: The storm may roar without me, My heart may low be laid; But God is round about me, And can I be dismayed? 4 1 See Mark 4:40. 2 Matthew 7:27. 3 Science and Health with Key to the Scriptures, p. 348. 4 Christian Science Hymnal, No. 148.