Every time I talk to my aunt, it seems, I hear about how one of the kids in the family has broken a finger or twisted an ankle. And usually, they feel these accidents are perfectly normal.
But, you know, they don't have to be.
This column often discusses how physical healing comes through prayer. But can we pray about the accidents themselves? They often seem so normal. Well, when you begin to pray, looking at the world from a spiritual point of view, accidents fade from your focus and from your life.
The spiritual view is the one God has of His creation: peaceful, joyful, unbroken, unharmed. If we're praying to have that same view, we are a lot safer.
If you believe yourself to be only a material, physical being, interacting with other physical beings or things (be they slippery banana peels or skidding cars or sneezing co-workers), you're assuming that random events can put you in danger of one kind or another, and that there's no way of stopping it. Relying on God is seldom part of this outlook on life; instead, we're just trying to find our way, never completely sure of what we'll encounter.
A better, safer, and more accurate way of looking at life is from that spiritual standpoint where God governs and oversees all of our activities. We can understand more and more that none of us is really alone, just material, bouncing around with a whole lot of other material things.
The Bible presents God as the supreme intelligence and speaks of Him as loving, all-knowing, and all-powerful. As we get better at listening for the direction of divine intelligence, we have fewer accidents. Why? Because there's actual power in the understanding that He wants only good for each of us.
It isn't always easy to pray for and follow God's guidance. But the benefits make it worth persisting. And while I can't say that I do this as much as I want to, here's a little example of how understanding God has been effective for me when it comes to accidents.
I was driving on a freeway one night. It had begun to snow heavily, but there were no signs that the road conditions were deteriorating yet. I was driving cautiously. But when I touched the brakes at one point, my car began to skid wildly out of control - across three lanes of traffic.
The only thing I could think of at that point was "God, please help me!" But that appeal was based on my growing understanding that God is All. Every time my car would approach another car and I would turn the steering wheel, my car would skid toward another one. Yet somehow, nobody hit anybody. Within a short time, and much to my amazement, my car was under control, and I was moving along in one lane, as though nothing had ever happened.
I'm convinced that what saved the day was not skillful driving on my part, but rather a conviction that God is a present help when we are in trouble. God, being the only Mind, really does keep creation in harmony with Himself. This means that what's bad is never part of the divine order. When it seems otherwise, prayer makes a difference.
"Accidents are unknown to God, or immortal Mind," wrote the founder of the Monitor, "and we must leave the mortal basis of belief and unite with the one Mind, in order to change the notion of chance to the proper sense of God's unerring direction and thus bring out harmony" (Mary Baker Eddy, "Science and Health with Key to the Scriptures," pg. 424).
God is unending, untiring Love. He never goes to sleep, never forgets any of us. We can learn to trust His protection more and more. Each time we get into the car, or hop on a bike or a skateboard or skis, we can take a second to affirm that God's love is here. God will give the intelligence we need to make the right decisions. With this guidance, we can be safer.
The beloved of the Lord shall dwell in safety by him; and the Lord shall cover him all the day long, and he shall dwell between his shoulders. Deuteronomy 33:12