If someone disappears

A Christian Science perspective on daily life

We are not weaponless. I remind myself of this each time a new headline screams of a missing child or young adult. Innocent children, loving parents, caring citizens, are not without resources.

They are not without powerfully effective armament that can be brought to the front to recover the missing. They have the weaponry of prayer, the armament of spiritual understanding. And there is no discounting prayer's importance, as people of faith refuse to sink in a sea of despair, but instead campaign for the safe recovery of every child in need of rescue, and for the peace of mind of every distraught parent.

Consider this promise found in the Scriptures, given as God's own voice: "I will seek that which was lost, and bring again that which was driven away" (Ezek. 34:16).

For any parent seeking a missing child, what a powerful reinforcement! For any abducted child, bewildered and terrified, what a reassuring promise! God is engaged in the seeking, finding, restoring, and healing. Your task and mine is to awake to the realness of His promise. Then hope dawns. Fear, the enemy that threatens to make parents witless at the very moment their wits are most needed, diminishes. And every right endeavor for recovery gains the underpinning of spiritual intuition and discernment.

God, who is divine Truth, uncovers deception. Truth thwarts evil intention. Truth protects and preserves innocence. Truth voices, in a way that cuts through to a would-be perpetrator, a message that redirects people along better paths.

Mary Baker Eddy wrote in "Science and Health with Key to the Scriptures": "The 'still, small voice' of scientific thought reaches over continent and ocean to the globe's remotest bound. The inaudible voice of Truth is, to the human mind, 'as when a lion roareth.' It is heard in the desert and in dark places of fear" (p. 559). The more we become attuned to this voice, the more we find solutions for ourselves and others.

A mother I knew lived this prayer. She and her two young children visited a large shopping mall. The kids knew it well and raced ahead to a special children's corner. As she caught up with them a minute later, she noticed a man loitering in the area. She remained watchful and soon gathered her children to her. They headed toward the cashier, but her daughter had left her sweater and dashed back to retrieve it. For a moment, the mother, distracted by the daughter, lost track of her son. Here is the mother's account:

"As I turned back to my little boy who had been standing but a few feet from me, I realized that he and the man were gone. Refusing to accept the mounting suggestion of danger and squashing the feeling of helplessness ... I knew with absolute certainty that this was a moment of Truth, that God's child could not be in anyone's hands but those of God, good; that my faculty of sight was spiritual and able to see where that child was.

"Quickly, my direction became clear, and ... I ran to a far end of the mall, pushed open an exit door, and found my little boy, alone, still clutching his unpaid-for book. Later, this child was able to tell the police that he had been picked up, carried away, and then suddenly put down.

"My gratitude and joy is endless for this powerful proof of God's care and protection. This experience was not a 'close call' but rather a close listening to the 'still, small voice' inherent in God's protected children."

That final phrase caught my attention. I wondered aloud to her if she meant it was inherent in her son - or inherent in the would-be kidnapper who apparently had an unexplained change of heart. The mother said she meant both.

It is more than a comfort to recall that in the presence of Truth's unquenchable voice, no one is beyond seeking and finding.

Adapted from the Christian Science Sentinel.

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