The tornado sirens had just gone off in my neighborhood. My family and I were sitting in our basement, and I was praying for our safety and our community. My prayer led me to think of the prophet Elijah’s fearless example. His whole life was one of searching for God and living what he found. He was courageous beyond measure, standing before many who refused to believe in a God who is Spirit.
One day after being threatened with death, this great man went to a mountain, where he could quietly think, pray, and listen to God. While he was there, he was exposed to examples of violent power: a fierce wind, an earthquake, and a fire. Yet Elijah learned, through the inspiration that God was giving him, that God wasn’t in any of these forces. After them, he heard God as a still, small voice, which guided him in his next steps.
Even in the face of severe weather, or in the aftermath when we’re trying to help those who have been victimized by such an occurrence, each of us can turn to God for guidance on what will keep us safe and enable us to help others most effectively.
In prayer, it’s legitimate to claim our right to be free from fear. Jesus was fearless in the face of a storm that threatened to sink the boat he and his disciples were using. The violent storm quickly arose while Jesus was asleep on the boat, and the disciples were sure they would perish. When they woke him up, he asked them, “What has happened to your faith?” (Luke 8:25, J.B. Phillips translation). Then he spoke to the storm and it dissipated. To me, like Elijah, the Master concluded that the all-power of God dissipates harmful forces. And he proved this to be true.
Our prayer can support the right of everyone to be safe from harm, also for emergency workers to have wisdom as they strive to help affected communities. We will learn, as Elijah did, that God is not the source of earthquake, wind, and fire. Rather, God is our strong help in time of need.
The Bible states, “When the enemy shall come in like a flood, the spirit of the Lord shall lift up a standard against him” (Isa. 59:19). And in her book “Science and Health with Key to the Scriptures,” Mary Baker Eddy made clear that God is the true power: “The material so-called gases and forces are counterfeits of the spiritual forces of divine Mind, whose potency is Truth, whose attraction is Love, whose adhesion and cohesion are Life, perpetuating the eternal facts of being” (p. 293).
One of these “eternal facts” is that Mind, Truth, Love, and Life – all synonyms for God – are our strong helpers in times of trouble. They bring us to the quiet mental place where our fears can be laid aside and we can trust God’s love to care for us and for all. In that special mental place, we can turn from storms of every kind and find in their place evidence of the supreme, loving, omnipresent, divine force. Jesus talked about entering the “closet,” closing the door, and praying there (see Matt. 6:6). And Science and Health states, “In the quiet sanctuary of earnest longings, we must deny sin and plead God’s allness” (p. 15).
That’s what I did that night of tornado sirens. I was in the mental closet of prayer. I silently acknowledged God’s beneficent allness, learning to understand that there is no destructive force in opposition to Him. Each of us can have faith in the all-power of God, and live from that basis. Then when storms of any kind come into our experience, we can face them unafraid.
The tornado sirens stopped. The storm passed, and we went upstairs to have dinner.