HAVE you ever felt trapped? Have you ever felt as though the circumstances of your personal experience were a vicious circle from which there was no escape?
A friend told me a wonderful story the other day that had a powerful message of hope. A chimney swift had flown down her chimney and gotten stuck in the fireplace. For some time it fluttered around frantically. Finally the bird got still. It must have then seen that light was coming from the top of the chimney. While it could not fly straight up, it managed to fly a few feet up to one side and then to the other until it was free.
I couldn't help thinking of the Bible verse in Psalms that bids us, ``Be still, and know that I am God: I will be exalted among the heathen, I will be exalted in the earth'' (46:10). Even in what seem incurable and unsolvable human difficulties, there is a way out. It is a spiritual way that requires us to get quiet enough to hear God guide us. We then ascend in our thoughts to feeling our closeness with God. As we look toward Spirit there is always light, the light of Christ.
Our spiritual receptivity to Christ, the true idea of God, is built into our being by virtue of the fact that God is man's creator, the source of all being. Christ, Truth, brings peace to our troubled hearts and gives us the assurance that God is near. We feel that we are not alone and that we are being guided by God. As we follow these spiritual intuitions step by step, they will lead us to freedom.
Mary Baker Eddy, the Discoverer and Founder of Christian Science, tells us that these intuitions are God's angels. She explains in her book Science and Health with Key to the Scriptures: ``The footsteps of thought, rising above material standpoints, are slow, and portend a long night to the traveller; but the angels of His presence--the spiritual intuitions that tell us when `the night is far spent, the day is at handare our guardians in the gloom'' (p. 174).
A member of my family had a powerful healing that illustrates this beautifully. This individual felt so intensely trapped by circumstances that he tried to find a way out through suicide. This attempt was thwarted, though, and what followed was a period of rest and quiet in a Christian Science care facility. He prayed. He also had help from a Christian Science practitioner. Practitioners are people who devote their lives to helping others through prayer. With this prayerful help, he began to see the light of God's love dawning in his consciousness.
Together they studied a section of the chapter ``Science of Being'' in Science and Health. At the beginning of this section Mrs. Eddy notes: ``When the following platform is understood and the letter and the spirit bear witness, the infallibility of divine metaphysics will be demonstrated'' (p. 330). What follows is a concise explanation of the theology of Christian Science--the explanation of Christ Jesus' mission and of the completeness of God's allness and the utter nothingness of mortality. Each step toward the light required humility and courage. Often all they saw was one step at a time, trusting final and full deliverance to God. Within six months, however, the whole scene had changed. The family member's business was restored to soundness, he met a wonderful woman whom he eventually married, and gradually, within the next several months, the mental darkness dissolved.
When something in our lives makes us feel utterly trapped, we don't have to lose hope. We need to get still and look up, to God. The light is always there to guide us. We will see each step we need to take as we patiently listen for God's messages to guide us. We will find our way out of bondage and soar freely in the light of divine Love.