What shields us from harm

A Christian Science perspective on daily life.

There has been a widespread campaign running over the airwaves in recent weeks. One ad shows striking black and white close-up portraits of people covering a complete spectrum of age, gender, and race, who are in one way or another affected by influenza. The conclusion is that nearly everyone is at risk. In this case, the ad's purpose is to encourage people to get flu shots. But this ad campaign, and many others warning of diseases, demands that we ask another question. Is there a way to feel safe and shielded from disease and other forms of harm?

The Bible's message of comfort and courage is a powerful answer to this question of vulnerability. Safety and deliverance are broadcast repeatedly throughout the Bible and summarized in this verse found in the Psalms: "God is our refuge and strength, a very present help in trouble" (Ps. 46:1).

This biblical assurance was such an important idea to Mary Baker Eddy, who founded this newspaper and discovered Christian Science, that she quoted it five times in her writings. And the idea of God's presence and His willingness to help us is a thread that runs throughout her books, continuously weaving into the hearts of readers that it is both wise and practical to turn to God in times of sickness and remain close to Him at all times. In fact, the child of God cannot actually be parted from Him by any circumstance. This is the basis for a fearless life, even a happy life. It is a constant comfort to know that there isn't a single scenario in which God's help is not available. Christ Jesus' mission was to impart this fact, and his lifetime of healing proved it. We can prove it as well.

Here's a brief example. A woman left her apartment to attend a festive dinner around the holidays, but was feeling less than celebratory. Discomfort that felt like symptoms of the flu was bearing down on her. After being greeted at her friend's home and trying to enjoy the evening, she finally excused herself and went off to a guest room to be alone. Overwhelmed with miserable symptoms, she reached out in prayer to God, as she had done successfully before. She listened for some mental clarity, some prayerful reasoning.

Then it occurred to her that because she was essentially spiritual – a creation of God, divine Spirit – she was not a helpless victim of a developing disease. Man is not a vulnerable mortal. Generically speaking, man is spiritual, the beloved and ever-cared for idea of God who is Love. Many other times in her life she'd seen proof of this in prayer.

She prayed a simple, heartfelt prayer. It was a sincere desire to feel the presence of divine Love more noticeably than the symptoms that felt so pervasive. That's all she wanted, to feel God's presence. After about a quarter of an hour in complete stillness, she felt a calm that minutes before had seemed out of reach. Her thought was still, even happy. The heavy misery she'd been under left her like a bank of fog whisked away by a shift of the wind.

Rejoining the party, she had real cause for celebration. She'd felt the loving touch of God, and there were no lingering symptoms that night or in the days following. She was completely free.

God, the divine Mother, as well as Father, protects and shelters Her child with more determination than a mother bear, and with the greatest tenderness. She is willing and eager to help Her own loved creation. The essence of this God-care is ever-present love, and with it comes the promise of comfort and healing.

In the book of Ezekiel, this message is stated in God's words: "I, even I, will both search my sheep, and seek them out." And it continues, "I will seek that which was lost, and bring again that which was driven away, and will bind up that which was broken, and will strengthen that which was sick" (34:11, 16).

God is all-powerful, good, and is not useless during threats of sickness and disease, but is a reliable remedy. This fact alone, when humbly yielded to, brings the healing and protection, calm and safety, that all deserve.

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