Even at the bottom of the sea
Bringing a spiritual perspective to daily life
Is it possible to be in a place or circumstance beyond the reach of God's power and love? I don't think so.
When I first heard that the Russian submarine Kursk had sunk to the bottom of the Barents Sea, I felt an inner certainty that the absolute presence and power of God was with every one of the 118-member crew. That God's constant care had never for a moment been lost to them, and never would be.
The Psalmist sang out with confidence: "If I ascend up into heaven, thou art there: if I make my bed in hell, behold, thou art there. If I take the wings of the morning, and dwell in the uttermost parts of the sea; even there shall thy hand lead me, and thy right hand shall hold me" (Ps. 139:8-10).
The infinite Spirit is filling every nook and cranny of space in the entire universe - in this life, and hereafter. God is even at the bottom of the sea. Not for so much as a nanosecond can anyone be separated from God. We're perpetually linked with Him, right now and forever. We can never drift out of His care, be sunk out of His sight, or be plunged into an unrescuable circumstance.
Even when a horrific tragedy says otherwise.
There's strong assurance of safety in another psalm that has comforted sailors and their families for centuries: "They that go down to the sea in ships, that do business in great waters; these see the works of the Lord, and his wonders in the deep.... he bringeth them out of their distresses.... he bringeth them unto their desired haven" (Ps. 107:23, 24, 28, 30).
Recently an experience literally shook me awake to the fact that no one can ever be severed from God, from His love, from His care, no matter what.
As I was cruising home at 65 miles an hour after an inspiring service at my church, my car suddenly struck a huge moose. It landed like a bomb, pulverizing the windshield and bouncing off the car. In spite of the shock, I had total presence of mind - no gripping terror, no sense of injury. I felt a great love for the animal the instant I realized what was happening. It was a crystal clear awareness of the spiritual fact that both of us were absolutely safe, because we were with God. My car was totaled. I wasn't even scratched.
The next day a limping moose was sighted in the area. The police were certain it was the same one. I continued to pray for it. The fact is, it was an indestructible creature of God, too.
This brought a sudden new awareness. I was certain that even if I had not made it through that incident all in one piece, I would still be inseparable from God, inseparable from good, inseparable from life. All creatures are their whole, spiritually indestructible and eternal selves, in God's love and care forever.
Facts about God can bring comfort, insight, and inspiration amid the enigmas of daily living. In "Science and Health with Key to the Scriptures," the founder of the Monitor conveyed spiritual facts like the one that helped me. "Where the spirit of God is, and there is no place where God is not," wrote Mary Baker Eddy, "evil becomes nothing, - the opposite of the something of Spirit" (pg. 480).
So, what about those people who do not make it safely through tragic events? Are they gone? Or are they safe on some new shore, still living and having goodness and making progress? I feel certain they are. Why? Because of the indisputable, unsinkable fact that God is everywhere and so evil can't ultimately be anywhere. "... man cannot be separated for an instant from God, if man reflects God" (Science and Health, pg. 306). Not a single one of Spirit's loved children can ever be separated for even a single moment from life, love, hope, guidance, safety, and progress.
O Holy Spirit! Who didst brood
Upon the chaos dark and rude,
And bid its angry tumult cease,
And give, for wild confusion,
O hear us when we cry to thee
For those in peril on the sea.
(c) Copyright 2000. The Christian Science Publishing Society