DURING my life, I've proved many times how prayer to God protects us from fear and lifts us out of danger. Sometimes we're not only extricated from trouble; it even seems as though we're not touched by what's going on around us, as Christ Jesus was unharmed when an angry crowd threatened to kill him. Luke's Gospel tells us that Jesus ``passing through the midst of them went his way'' (4:30).
Once I worked in a building that was well-managed, but seemed a little like an island of respectability in the midst of creeping decadence all around. As a student of Christian Science, I prayed every day to see that I was not working in an area of rampant sinfulness, but that I could only be living and working in the spiritual reality that God, Spirit, creates.
One evening at work, I had an opportunity to see just exactly how practical--and effective--my prayers were. I was working late, expecting the boss to return to wrap up some work. I had left the door open for him.
When someone did come in, though, I was startled to see a well-known character in the area. The strange look in his eyes made me very uneasy. It didn't take me long to get the gist of his remarks. He wanted me to close up the office and accompany him to a nearby bar, where he would introduce me to a prospective ``client.'' When I didn't respond immediately, he began waving his walking stick around threateningly.
I kept still. I knew that God's ever-presence was there with me. As Mary Baker Eddy, the Discoverer and Founder of Christian Science, writes in her book The First Church of Christ, Scientist, and Miscellany, ``Remember, thou canst be brought into no condition, be it ever so severe, where Love has not been before thee and where its tender lesson is not awaiting thee'' (pp. 149- 150). I knew I could never be separated from God, divine Love. His power was holding me in complete safety. This situation was no part of me. It was just like a dream or a bad play, with characters playing misfit roles. I saw that the real man of God's creating could not be influenced to play this counterfeit role. I even began to feel compassion for the man, knowing that he needed to be freed from this false, dream world, as well.
Strengthened by this correct view--this Christly view--of spiritual reality, to my own surprise I got up, closed the desk, picked up my handbag, and said pleasantly, ``Well, I guess I'd better lock up now. And I'll need to go down the hall and freshen up a bit.''
His face relaxed. He said, ``Well, that's more like it. I'll meet you downstairs in the lobby.'' So he headed for the elevators while I locked up and walked quickly to the stairway. I ran downstairs to where Bob was busy as usual with his copier services. There I found sanctuary until the man left. Then I caught a bus home, as usual. I continued to pray, knowing that this man couldn't be a threat to anyone. As soon as possible I reported the incident to the building manager, who took immediate steps to deal with the situation. How grateful I was for God's care.
This was a convincing illustration to me of how God guides and guards His beloved children when they turn to Him in prayer. To see man as God made him frees us and others from dangerous or immoral actions. I had demonstrated, in some measure, that when confronted by evil, I could recognize that it has no part in the spiritual life of man, who is held perfect in God's spiritual reality. I certainly understand better what Mrs. Eddy means when she says in Science and Health with Key to the Scriptures: ``Every trial of our faith in God makes us stronger'' (p. 410).