Publicity concerning a young girl who had been kidnapped from her own bedroom in our ordinarily safe community was pervasive several years ago.
Our daughter, who was about the same age as the girl, became frightened. Her fear escalated to near panic after she and I were home alone one night and were awakened by an intruder.
While waiting outside on the balcony for the police, as we'd been instructed to do, we calmed ourselves by singing hymns. This was just the beginning of what would be days, then months of turning to God in prayer.
A daughter, who had always been poised and peaceful beyond her years, now appeared insecure and haunted day and night by the combination of the story of the girl and her own experience.
Although I spent hours trying to console and comfort her, praying to accept that she could feel God's protective presence as I tucked her into bed each night, she was still restless and far from settled.
One night as I was praying with all my heart, I realized in a new way that she had her own relation to God, her spiritual Father-Mother. She, like each of us, is His offspring, as St. Paul assured a crowd during a speech, "We are also his offspring" (Acts 17:28). I could trust God to reach her directly and answer this need. In a certain sense, I let it go; I stopped hovering over her and handed the mental reins to our divine Parent – the Father-Mother we both depend on.
In this statement, Mary Baker Eddy, who founded this newspaper and discovered Christian Science, pronounced: "Father-Mother is the name for Deity, which indicates His tender relationship to His spiritual creation" ("Science and Health with Key to the Scriptures," p. 332).
This Deity is the Father-Mother of us all. We live in His presence, in His house, so to speak. In divine consciousness, God's house, where we exist as His spiritual family, we are safe and peaceful. God is permanent good that cannot be invaded or disturbed. Where God is present, nothing unlike the divine presence can exist, so filled with love it is.
Shortly thereafter, in the middle of the day, our daughter came running to me with her well-worn Bible and excitedly showed me verses from Proverbs she'd found on her own: "When thou liest down, thou shalt not be afraid: yea, thou shalt lie down, and thy sleep shall be sweet. Be not afraid of sudden fear, neither of the desolation of the wicked, when it cometh. For the Lord shall be thy confidence, and shall keep thy foot from being taken" (Prov. 3:24-26).
She was healed in that instant. God's love had reached her directly and decidedly, and she never again felt unsettled or afraid at night.
She was as delighted with the fact that she felt God had deliberately directed her to this passage as she was with the actual message.
This experience served as a reference point, reminding both of us that whatever might appear to haunt us, disorienting us from our God-given peace and safety, can be dispelled by accepting the relation we have as God's beloved. He blots out our fears, replacing them with the security of His love.
The power of this perfect, divine Love eradicates anything opposed to it, including haunting memories of any moment we've felt unsafe or outside God's protective home, or consciousness.
In Thy house securely dwelling,
Where Thy children live to bless,
Seeing only Thy creation,
We can share Thy happiness,
Share Thy joy and spend it freely.
Loyal hearts can feel no fear;
We Thy children know Thee, Father,
Love and Life forever near.
(Elizabeth C. Adams, "Christian Science Hymnal," No. 58)