Our 17-year-old daughter was in an airplane high above the Atlantic ocean when I realized that she would be landing at the airport in São Paulo, Brazil early the next morning, having a 10-hour layover in a city that I knew nothing about. Earlier that day her flight had been rerouted through São Paulo.
I was volunteering at a camp for teens in the Rocky Mountains. My job was to help counselors and campers find spiritual strength, healing, guidance, and peace through prayer in their activities that ranged from backpacking in 14,000-foot mountains to whitewater rafting on one of the most demanding rivers in the Southwest.
Even though my days were filled with inspiration and I felt a deep-settled calm about our campers, I sat bolt upright at 2 a.m. when I realized that I could do some last-minute research on my laptop to see what Hannah's options were for boredom-alleviating activities and for finding a secure place to rest until her flight to Johannesburg, South Africa boarded later that day. I hoped she would call when she landed in São Paulo so I could suggest some places she might explore.
The first hit took my breath away: riots in the streets, burning of buses, and attacks on tourists. I spent the next hour doing what most parents would do – searching everything I could find. I made phone calls, learning, "Yes, there is grave concern about airport security in São Paulo...." In fact, travel through São Paulo was discouraged for the next few days.
I realized that this research wasn't enough. I wanted to pray. Oh, I had pleaded with God to protect my little (5-foot, 8-inch) girl. But pray – take a mental stand based on spiritual laws that govern the universe and find my peace – not yet.
I e-mailed people in São Paulo, some of whom I didn't even know, begging them to stay with my daughter until her connecting flight took off. My heart ached in a way I hadn't felt since she started kindergarten and I sat outside all morning, waiting until her little blond head appeared at lunchtime, her face beaming with delight at her new adventures.
That was when I remembered who I was, why I was at camp, what I knew to be true about children's safety – whether on a raging river, a treacherous mountain peak, or in a rioting foreign city. I turned to two sources of information that had always brought me peace of mind – the Bible and Mary Baker Eddy's book, "Science and Health with Key to the Scriptures."
I had been using the ideas in these two books to help campers and counselors who had asked for my help to find freedom from fear that summer, and I knew there would be an answer of peace for me there, too.
I was not alone in the middle of the night, high in the mountains, far from help, and more important, neither was Hannah. I was awake and active because this kid-related issue needed my prayer at that moment. Hannah and I were part of a larger picture, and we were both in God's care, secure in His omnipotent government, safe in His omnipresent loving of us, and of all.
Every weary traveler, every frustrated heart lashing out in anger, every law officer, every parent around the world was held by His strong hand and guided by His clear messages of direction, discipline, affection, and grace.
Such a peace descended on my heart that I fell asleep. I was awakened before dawn to the phone ringing. It was my daughter. The São Paulo airport was boring and the food was way too expensive.
When I hung up, my computer screen still displayed the last page I had accessed. I chuckled as I logged off, knowing that we both had all the information we needed, and it was coming directly from the one true source of security: God. I tucked myself back into bed for 20 minutes before I needed to be up. I was at peace.
This would be a good day. We were all safe in His love – on mountaintops, in rivers, and in airports, schools, offices, homes, neighborhoods, and war zones – we would all be safe today.