How to stop being afraid

A Christian Science perspective on daily life

A small child skips along with his mother and takes a spill. All at once the mother picks him up, embraces him, brushes off his clothes, straightens his hair, wipes his tears, tells him he's all right, smiles reassuringly, takes his hand, and tells him to come along.

Let's put God in the place of the mother. There is biblical authority for referring to God as divine Mother, and in "Science and Health with Key to the Scriptures," Mary Baker Eddy defined the term "Mother" as God (see p. 592). We are each the child in Her care.

Fear disorients us as it does the child who is suddenly flat on the pavement instead of walking along. Disoriented, we believe we must do something to stop the fear. But as in the scene described above, the child only responds; the mother is the active one.

Similarly, when we've taken a dive into fear, we need to more fully observe and accept what the Mother is doing. God is the helper, the deliverer. God will always rescue us, whether we're feeling disconcerted or terrorized.

In the illustration above, the mother comforts, corrects, convinces, and commands. Each element is needed in order to remove fear. And God provides them.

God comforts

God's love is a constant embrace. The Bible story of Hagar shows how God comforts. Having been turned out of her home with her son, she was in the desert without water. Full of fear for her son's life, she wept. Then an angel appeared, telling her not to be afraid, "For God hath heard the voice of the lad where he is" (Gen. 21:17).

Hagar saw a well of water near her. Her fear and tears had blinded her from seeing the answer right where she was. The message of assurance exposed the fears as unfounded, and she and her son were saved. God's comforting messages still hover around us, too.

God corrects

Fear is mistaken thought, and God's corrective word, replacing fear with spiritual truths, repeats itself throughout the Bible. It echoes that we needn't be afraid. There are 63 passages in the Bible that say, "Fear not"; 26 say, "Be not afraid"; and many others convey the same sentiment.

Right where fear appears or terrorism threatens, Love is there, restoring peace to our hearts.

God convinces

How do we feel convinced of the power of good when we may be shaking in our boots? It is to be convincible. When facing fear, we need to maintain an attitude unbiased by mortal thoughts and wrongly educated thinking. To be readily touched by Truth is to be childlike and trusting - meek enough in the face of evil to admit that God is All.

Fear can be treated as an invader - as imposition. When facing terrorism, starting from the basis that God is a universal Father-Mother places all of us in a universal family, linked by divine Love to love, not fear.

God commands

Returning to the metaphor of the mother and child, part of the child's response is obedience. When the mother says, "You're all right," and the child stops crying, he is agreeing. When the Master said, "Let not your heart be troubled, neither let it be afraid" (John 14:27), he had been speaking to the disciples about obedience. It is a comforting statement, but it also implies discipline in the use of the word "let." To me, the Master is teaching that however paralyzing fear may feel, we have God-given dominion over it.

We can stand up to fear and terrorism, because we stand right with God, who is ever with us. Nothing can pull us from Love's embrace, or distract us from Truth's promises of security. Our divine Mother never stops comforting, correcting, convincing, and commanding us to come along, fearlessly and joyfully.

Adapted from the Christian Science Sentinel.

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