NEWS media reports of carjackings in the United States and of assaults on travelers often create an atmosphere of fear and anxiety. Yet we are not helpless before such accounts--as I discovered some months ago. I was planning a trip through an area that was rapidly becoming notorious for the prevalence of carjackings. As a woman traveling alone, I found the news reports frightening. But instead of giving up the trip, I turned to God in prayer.
One of the thoughts that came to me immediately was the fact that God, good, is omnipresent. So God wouldn't be any less present with me when I was on my trip than He was when I was at home. The Bible's many accounts of travelers' communications with God show that these people learned that they were never outside of God's care. Abraham, Jacob, Moses, Elijah, and Elisha had many experiences of God's guiding presence as well as His protection. Elisha, for instance, was once in a city that was surrounded by
enemy soldiers who had been sent to capture him. Yet through his reliance on God, he was able to escape. Christ Jesus' disciples and the Apostle Paul also learned of God's care for them--whether they were striving with enemies or facing storms at sea.
In fact, even though Biblical figures may not have had to deal with carjackers and muggers, they knew well what it was to be in danger. And their certainty of God's presence sustained them. Perhaps the Psalmist stated this most effectively when he sang, ``Whither shall I go from thy spirit? or whither shall I flee from thy presence? . . . If I take the wings of the morning, and dwell in the uttermost parts of the sea; even there shall thy hand lead me, and thy right hand shall hold me. If I say, Surely t he darkness shall cover me; even the night shall be light about me.''
These thoughts reminded me that man is inseparable from God and also that this unbreakable relationship is ours now. Each of us, in his or her true being, is actually the spiritual idea of God, the recipient of divine intelligence. And this means we can trust God to guide us in taking intelligent action. Mary Baker Eddy, the Discoverer and Founder of Christian Science, explains the impact of such knowledge in her book Science and Health with Key to the Scriptures. She writes, ``Mind, God, sends forth the
aroma of Spirit, the atmosphere of intelligence.''
Feelings of fear arise when we have accepted in some way the belief that we are vulnerable material beings who can be threatened by other mortals, who may also be motivated by fear. Within divine Love's ``atmosphere of intelligence,'' however, we see what is actually going on: man is totally spiritual and is inseparable from a loving God, who is totally good. Love, intelligence, patience, truth, and goodness are natural elements in this atmosphere. They are not only qualities we express, but are qualitie s we can expect to see expressed by others. And our devotion to spiritual intelligence helps us to perceive when conditions do not express the ``atmosphere'' of harmony that comes from God and to act wisely to correct them.
My trip had its share of adventures and challenges. Throughout them all, however, the prayer I had done before I left sustained me so well that I was able to deal with each thing as it came up. The result was a very happy time that I still cherish as one of my more memorable journeys into new territory.
Whether commuting to work, walking to the store, or taking a much longer trip away from home, each individual can travel within the atmosphere of divine intelligence, the realm where God's goodness reigns supreme.