`Fear not'

A LOVING parent sometimes finds himself saying to his child who is fearful of the dark, ``There's nothing to be afraid of.'' The child may feel that he has a very good reason for being afraid, but the caring mother or father speaks from a perspective of experience and understanding. And the child learns to trust and follow the parent's guidance. In some ways this parent-child relationship compares to our relationship with our divine Parent. We are God's children, and He is our caring Father-Mother. When we hear the divine message ``Don't be afraid,'' we are apt to itemize all our reasons for feeling anxious. But like the child, we can learn to yield to greater wisdom.

This is not to suggest that adult fears are rooted in the same simple mistakes that cause many children's fears. Sometimes we face threatening circumstances where fear seems legitimate and irresistible. But God is present to care for us.

The Bible tells us of a woman named Hagar, who was stranded with her infant son in the wilderness of Beersheba with very little water. Soon the water was gone, and Hagar wept in despair as death seemed imminent for her child. Yet the Bible records, ``The angel of God called to Hagar out of heaven, and said unto her, What aileth thee, Hagar? fear not.''1 Soon after she welcomed this spiritual message, her needs were met and her son's life was preserved.

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When the Apostle Paul was prisoner on a ship besieged by a fierce storm, he heard the angelic command ``Fear not.''2 Centuries passed between the times of Hagar and Paul. Yet they both received a clear directive to resist fear.

There is a spiritual truth underlying the message not to fear. This message is not some random, personal revelation restricted to certain Biblical characters. We today can actually be unafraid when we see something of the truth that God is the only creator and that He has not created or permitted anything to frighten or torment His children. God is in fact a loving, sustaining, protecting power -- the only genuine power. He is omnipotent good and maintains man's well-being. This is the spiritual reality of our being, provable right where we are as we open our thought to a higher sense of God and man and to the certainty of divine law.

The command to fear not is not a call to endure hardship with quiet resignation. It is actually a reminder that God is omnipotent Love, well able to care for His creation always, as Christ Jesus proved so persuasively for us all.

Could God form something to oppose Himself or the harmony of His creation? No! In the Christian Science textbook Mary Baker Eddy3 comments, ``Nothing is more disheartening than to believe that there is a power opposite to God, or good, and that God endows this opposing power with strength to be used against Himself, against Life, health, harmony.''4

We can surrender to the spiritual fact that God has no partners or assistants or competitors who can enter His creation and torment His children. God is undeviating in His tender care for man. So God's child has no fear, and our true and only being is His child.

We experience more of our God-given fearlessness through consecrated prayer. The prayer that systematically acknowledges God's goodness and allness, and comes to discern that reality, leads us to feel less vulnerable. Then our joy is not fragile.

As we continue cultivating trust in the sustaining protection of our Father-Mother God, we find freedom from burdening fear.

1Genesis 21:17. 2Acts 27:24. 3The Discoverer and Founder of Christian Science. 4Science and Health with Key to the Scriptures, p. 380.

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