It wasn't computer failure that frightened me, even if our nation, including our defense system, may have become too dependent on computers. I knew there were plenty of experts working to resolve Y2K problems. Why, then, did apprehension mount as November and December relentlessly moved us to Jan. 1, 2000?
When I analyzed my uneasiness, I realized I was confident that computer issues could and would be dealt with. What I was reacting to was the atmosphere of doom being encouraged by extremists of all stripes. I was imagining what could happen if an untoward event precipitated a world panic. Surrounded by fear and consent to immediate doomsday, could I maintain my spiritual poise - and engage in helpful action and prayer?
As a child, I had been conscious of the run on banks in the early '30s, which closed our bank. As an adult, I had grown acutely aware of the vulnerability of even good people to mob action, when a friend confessed her regret at having thrown stones during the Democratic National Convention in Chicago in 1968.
But one recent night, I suddenly found myself laughing at my fears. Why? Because I was forgetting God. God, I saw, speaks with one voice and can be heard at all times, by everyone, everywhere.
I have long loved an explanation given in "Science and Health with Key to the Scriptures," by Mary Baker Eddy, which reads in part, "Christ is the true idea voicing good, the divine message from God to men speaking to the human consciousness" (pg. 332). I realized that despite untoward circumstances, I could always hear God's message. This Christly voice, not hysteria and panic, could and would inform me and guide action.
"Let this mind be in you, which was also in Christ Jesus" is the advice of the Bible (Phil. 2:5). It records many instances when Jesus, as well as other people before and after him, brought solutions and healing to desperate situations. They did so by listening to God instead of to the fears of other people.
The Gospel of Mark relates in a few words a story of deliverance. It took place when Jesus and his friends were in a ship: "And there arose a great storm of wind, and the waves beat into the ship, so that it was now full. And he was in the hinder part of the ship, asleep on a pillow: and they awake him, and say unto him, Master, carest thou not that we perish? And he arose, and rebuked the wind, and said unto the sea, Peace, be still. And the wind ceased, and there was a great calm" (4:37-39).
Interesting picture - Jesus asleep on a pillow! While it may not have been down-filled, the pillow speaks of his physical comfort. Was it also an indication of his mental comfort? Obviously Jesus did not lose that sense of security when his disciples called for help, but took his own peace, derived from understanding God, to quiet the turmoil in the thoughts of his friends and even in the sea.
Even when just wakened from sleep, Jesus must have heard "the true idea voicing good" rather than the apparently unanimous fears yelled out by the disciples. Such proof in human life of God's "ever- and everywhere- presence" is always a possibility. (There were other ships in that area, and I have a feeling that the clear, spiritual vision of this one man blessed them, too.)
In a talk at another Chicago convention, Mrs. Eddy spoke in 1888 of the daily proofs of Wendell Phillips' famous saying that "one on God's side is a majority." She explained this truth in the light of her understanding of the divine omnipresence. "Science defines omnipresence as universality, that which precludes the presence of evil" ("Miscellaneous Writings," pgs. 102-103). At any time, any one of us can be that majority which "precludes the presence of evil."
For me, the turn of the calendar no longer calls up fear. I'm not forgetting that the coming year is unwritten history - and that we can listen to God and imprint good on it
Articles like this are published in 13 different languages in the magazine The Herald of Christian Science.
(c) Copyright 1999. The Christian Science Publishing Society