I KNEW someone who tried to run away from his ex-wife, his taxes, and the police. When he found a room, he thought he had found a refuge. But he soon realized that he was as trapped as he would have been in a prison. It wasn't long before they all caught up with him, and he ended up in a real prison. Even when we haven't done anything we deserve to be arrested for, we all have times in our lives when we look for a refuge. Where do we go when the bottom drops out of our lives? Where can storm victims find a shelter?
Temporary relief may be sought in many ways. But there is a secure, long-term refuge, and we can find it the same way the Psalmist did. When he was in trouble, he didn't know what to do, so he looked up and prayed: "In thee, O Lord, do I put my trust; let me never be ashamed: deliver me in thy righteousness. Bow down thine ear to me; deliver me speedily: be thou my strong rock, for an house of defence to save me. We too can find refuge from distress, sin, enemies--and from the sorrow, guilt, shame, m
isunderstanding, and illness that follow in their train--when we put our trust in God as our "house of defence. The prayer that frees us from life's storms includes a deeper awareness of our genuine, spiritual identity, the certainty of man's unbreakable relationship to God. When Christ Jesus taught his followers how to pray, Matthew's Gospel records, he said: "When thou prayest, enter into thy closet, and when thou hast shut thy door, pray to thy Father which is in secret; and thy Father which seeth in s
ecret shall reward thee openly.
This does not mean that we can use prayer as a convenient escape route from trouble caused by our wrongdoing. Wrongdoing has to be faced up to and corrected. It is possible to find healing solutions to our problems, to make whatever adjustments are needed, when we are willing to let God's will be done.
Mary Baker Eddy, the Discoverer and Founder of Christian Science, comments on Jesus' instructions in Science and Health with Key to the Scriptures: "The closet typifies the sanctuary of Spirit, the door of which shuts out sinful sense but lets in Truth, Life, and Love. Closed to error, it is open to Truth, and vice versa. The Father in secret is unseen to the physical senses, but He knows all things and rewards according to motives, not according to speech. To enter into the heart of prayer, the doo r
of the erring senses must be closed. Lips must be mute and materialism silent, that man may have audience with Spirit, the divine Principle, Love, which destroys all error.
It is often difficult to turn from troubles and listen to what God is telling us. But in order to live in accordance with our prayers, we must trust God, divine Principle, to give us spiritual sanctuary and adjust our situation in the most appropriate way. In the spiritual realm--the only reality--there is no "outside to the omnipresence of divine Principle, Love.
I needed a refuge myself one day. I was traveling in a small plane that was landing in a storm. I was ill, and I knew I needed to find a refuge from the turbulence around me. I closed my eyes and prayed. As I became more conscious of God and my relationship to Him, the illness was healed, and we landed safely.
I could see that in reality I was not a mortal being battered by material forces, but the spiritual image and likeness of God. This truth of our being is a spiritual refuge that's always at hand for each of us, wherever we are.
You can find more articles like this one in the Christian Science Sentinel, a weekly magazine.