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You Don't Have To Be Afraid

A spiritual look at issues of interest to young people

April 21, 1998



We were on the top of this mountain, several thousand feet above the tree line, trying to find our way down. Being inexperienced climbers, we were having trouble finding the right path. We kept ending up on the path to a false peak. This is a peak that looks deceptively like the true summit, but is really a dead-end destination.

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My partner was afraid that the small rock area we were climbing on, if disturbed too much, might start cascading down the mountain, taking us with it.

One of the earliest things I remember learning as a child was that God is always caring for all of us completely. No matter where we are, He is all-powerful, always here. He is the Father, whose love sustains us.

The Bible says, "You [God] open your hand and satisfy the desires of every living thing" (Ps. 145:16, New International Version). God guides us, and when we need it He rescues us.

I trusted in God during this brief-but-eventful experience on the top of the mountain. My climbing partner and I were both praying. We talked about recognizing the power of God in our lives. We listened in that very situation for thoughts of instruction and direction from Him.

In any situation when you feel afraid, unsafe, insecure, you can turn to God and find help. When you listen for God to guide you, you're praying. And the calming effect that prayer has will enable you to hear the answer God is giving. Wherever you are, the answer will come through this prayer.

It's the total love God has for us that brings calm in times of trouble. Feeling this love will bring a new sense of hope. Good intuition. Proof that it's OK to trust that God is good.

Usages of the word fear itself offer a clue as to why praying to God ends the concern that something bad will happen. The word has two opposing usages; one is "to be in apprehension of evil." The other is "to have reverential awe."

"The fear of the Lord" (a phrase commonly found in the Holy Bible) is often the worship of God. We can't be in "reverential awe," worshiping God as the only good power, and at the same time believe in some bad power besides God.

Jesus Christ showed that no evil power exists to oppose God. Jesus recognized that everyone he met was governed by the power of God. His prayers annihilated fear and healed people of sickness. He often told people not to be afraid.

A book called "Science and Health with Key to the Scriptures" was written by the Discoverer of Christian Science, Mary Baker Eddy. This companion book to the Bible explains, "The history of Christianity furnishes sublime proofs of the supporting influence and protecting power bestowed on man by his heavenly Father, omnipotent Mind, who gives man faith and understanding whereby to defend himself, not only from temptation, but from bodily suffering" (Pg. 387).

In our experience of mountain climbing, my friend and I soon found our prayers providing the help we needed. We saw proof of God's protecting power in an interesting way, just as the last light of day began disappearing from the mountain.

Although the other climbers were all below the timberline, one experienced climber suddenly remembered seeing us on the mountain and realized we hadn't yet returned. He turned around and went back up the mountain, climbing above the timberline again toward the peaks. We caught sight of him in the distance and were able to get the bearing we needed to find the path that led back to the timberline.

If at some point things seem scary to you in some way, or if you feel like you are climbing to false peaks, you can trust in the power of God to rescue you. Remember, He's always with you, wherever you are. You can never get out of His sight - away from His love for you. He is always your help at hand. That's why you don't have to be afraid.

Referring to Psalm 46 in the Bible, Science and Health gives the following assurance: "Step by step will those who trust Him find that 'God is our refuge and strength, a very present help in trouble' " (Pg. 444).

You can visit the home page of The First Church of Christ, Scientist, at www.tfccs.com.