IS our safety dependent on where we are? Reports ranking cities and real estate according to crime rates suggest such a view is valid. And what happens if our job, travel, or a road detour puts us in such a place?
Few would rank a lions' den as a safe place for humans. Yet the Bible makes the point through the story of Daniel that safety can be found even where danger seems most likely. Central to the story is Daniel's refusal to worship any except the one God. The power of God protects him from the hatred and jealousy of those who had him put in the lions' den as well as from the lions (see Daniel, chap. 6).
The one God was the power that kept Christ Jesus safe from being stoned by an angry crowd (see Luke 4:28-30). And Jesus turned others to God as the source of refuge from fear, danger, disease. Who is this God that could provide such ever-present security? God is Love, the Bible assures us.
But can Love really help you and me?
When circumstances make it difficult to trust God, I find it is helpful to pause and actively reason from cause to effect, beginning with God as Love. Since God is the creator of all and He made man in His image, certainly divine Love's creation must be like Him. Therefore, that which is hateful or frightening is not of Love's making; it is an error, a mistaken sense of power, which Love eliminates. Christ Jesus gave proof of this in his healing works.
Divine Love is available to each of us. When we appear to face danger, we can humbly but confidently turn to God for help. His love for His children--you and me--will not be found wanting. Why? Because His goodness is omnipotent and omnipresent. It would not be possible for God, good, to create anything unlike Himself, unlike Love. Therefore, there is no hate in Love and no Love in hate. There is no fear in Love and no Love in fear. Hate, fear, and violence are proved powerless as one understands that God does not share His power with anything unlike Himself.
When I traveled frequently for business, I often visited unfamiliar cities. Each morning I prayed to trust my care and safety to God. My confidence was inspired by this verse from Isaiah: ``Thou wilt keep him in perfect peace, whose mind is stayed on thee'' (26:3). I have also found the following counsel given by Mary Baker Eddy, the Discoverer and Founder of Christian Science, very practical. It's in her book The First Church of Christ, Scientist, and Miscellany: ``Good thoughts are an impervious armor; clad therewith you are completely shielded from the attacks of error of every sort. And not only yourselves are safe, but all whom your thoughts rest upon are thereby benefited'' (p. 210). Divine Love is the source of these good thoughts.
One day, I was en route to an airport when two cars stopped suddenly in front of me. One driver got out and pointed a handgun at the driver of the second car. Turning to God in prayer, I affirmed, ``God keeps all of His children safe.'' The trigger was pulled twice but the gun misfired. The driver of the second car drove away.
The gun was then pointed at me. Many thoughts came: ``Punch the accelerator...Back up...Duck!!!'' Instead, I reached out in prayer to feel God's love. ``There is no fear in love; but perfect love casteth out fear,'' the Bible proclaims in First John (4:18). That moment I thanked God I was not afraid. I was at peace, sure Love could not cause one of its children to hurt another. Although it involved no lengthy process, what occurred was an instance of reasoning from cause to effect: Divine Love creates only good, and good is all God's creation can know. Love's protection extended to what appeared to be a victim and to the apparent victimizer.
After a few minutes, the person lowered the gun and returned to his car. As soon as possible, I reported the incident to the police. On my return trip home, I rejoiced to have witnessed Love's control over all involved.
Such an answer to prayer is not difficult to accept when we acknowledge God to be supreme. Calm is available even when we seem to face frightening circumstances, because Love is the only real power. Right where we are, we can rely on God for our safety.