Safe and sound?
A Christian Science perspective on daily life.
Whether you're worried about missing a flight because of long lines at a security checkpoint or are wondering if the budget cuts at your company mean that you're going to lose your job, feelings of helplessness and anxiety can be hard to deal with. And then there are the larger issues of terrorism and random violence that can keep one on edge.
For me, stress often involves my commute. And right after 9/11, the anxiety ratcheted up to a very high level. I drive to work on an interstate that turns into an elevated highway as it enters Boston, and after seeing the pictures of the World Trade Center, I kept thinking about what I would do if this highway were attacked. Stark images ran through my mind, and as my anxiety increased, I knew I had to stop them, or I'd never be able to drive that way to work again.
The Bible has given me much help over the years through the lives of people such as Moses, Nehemiah, Daniel, Joseph, and others who have had to face down challenges much greater than mine. As I was praying about this particular situation, though, it was the Psalmist who came to my aid. "What time I am afraid, I will trust in thee…. In God have I put my trust: I will not be afraid [of] what man can do unto me" (Ps. 56:3, 11).
That idea of trusting God isn't an abstract concept. For most of my life I've relied on Him to guide me through all kinds of experiences, including times when I was in physical danger. Each has been a building block in the foundation of my trust. Every time God has led me out of a dark alley – whether in a city or in my thoughts – I've felt more inclined to return to my divine source for help.
And through Mary Baker Eddy's book, "Science and Health with Key to the Scriptures," I've learned that God's help is not a random act. Her discovery of Christian Science reveals that each of us is actually spiritual and is also inseparable from God. This means to me that I'm not a separate human entity, "down here" pleading for help from God "up there." To be inseparable from God is to know Him as ever present – in other words, right where I am, always. And right where you are, and where all our loved ones are.
This understanding has brought me much peace about the commuting – and many other things – because it includes the promise that no matter what happens to me, divine intelligence, strength, love, and goodness will be there to guide and comfort me. And from accounts in the Bible, it's also clear that God provides spiritual intuition that can prevent one from being in a dangerous spot in the first place. Science and Health describes these spiritual intuitions as "angels" (see p. 581).
Those helpful and loving intuitions are available to all of us – at the airport, train station, in traffic, wherever. Whenever we feel stress or fear building up, we can ask God to send us a thought – an angel – to give us inspiration and the ability to go on. And such prayer is effective, as I learned more recently when I was changing planes at Heathrow Airport in London. Everything seemed normal until a loud alarm went off. I was told it was a fire alarm, and security people quickly gathered us in what was considered a safe place.
There in the crowd, I turned to God, trusting Him to guide everyone – the security people with us and those who were looking into the situation that had set off the alarms. At first, people around me seemed as anxious as I was, but we all became more peaceful, and when the all-clear was given, we went on our way in an orderly fashion instead of a stampede.
Nothing dramatic, yet the support of feeling God's presence, bringing peace to me and to the situation, made me want to give the Psalmist a "high five." Yes! "What time I am afraid, I will trust."