As hurricane Irene heads toward expected landfall in the United States, many cities and towns along the Eastern seaboard are warning people about the dangers that may lie ahead so that they can prepare adequately and be safe. Sometimes these honest efforts are so overhyped by news reports that they induce fear instead.
The Bible has many comforting passages, especially in Psalms, that can help ease this fear. In one psalm, the writer notes that when stormy winds and great waves arise, people who cry to the Lord for help are answered: “He bringeth them out of their distresses. He maketh the storm a calm, so that the waves thereof are still. Then are they glad because they be quiet” (Ps. 107:28-30).
There’s a dramatic account in the book of Acts of how people were saved during a major storm (see Acts, chap. 27). The Apostle Paul was being taken to Rome, under guard. At a port partway through the journey, the soldier guarding him and his companions was warned not to travel further by sea at that time of year. He chose to continue, however, and the ship was struck by “a tempestuous wind, called Euroclydon.” Soon they were in major trouble, and at last it seemed inevitable that the ship would be lost, along with all 276 people aboard.
Paul’s conviction of his spiritual purpose, along with his compassion for his shipmates, inspired his prayers. These enabled him to provide strong and encouraging words to this very fearful group of people. They were led to drive the boat into the shore, and the account ends with this lovely report: “And so it came to pass, that they escaped all safe to land.”
Paul’s conviction was more than a hope that God would help them. Through his many experiences of God’s care, he had gained an understanding that the divine will included the preservation of life – not just his own life, but all life. As Monitor founder Mary Baker Eddy put it, “God is the Life, or intelligence, which forms and preserves the individuality and identity of animals as well as of men” (“Science and Health with Key to the Scriptures,” p. 550).
We can have this conviction also, no matter what the weather reports are saying. And our compassion for others can broaden our prayers beyond our own needs to include neighboring communities. Mrs. Eddy knew well the importance of facing storms of any kind with strength and courage. Through her healing work, she showed that the spiritual laws Jesus taught and that Paul followed are provable today, and that they can preserve and protect people in all times of trouble.
She pointed out that when fear seems overwhelming, it’s practical to turn to God as the only power and to reject any claim to another power. We can do this whether what we’re up against are powerful winds, a storm surge, waves, or some other force. Standing firm on the laws she named divine Science, or Christian Science, we can pray. We can retain an inner sense of peace and the ability to think clearly during storms brought about by weather or any other turbulent atmosphere. These laws, on which Jesus’ own healing experiences rested, represent the “rock” that he promised would be a safe and firm foundation for those who followed him (see Luke 6:47, 48).
In “Miscellaneous Writings 1883-1896” Mrs. Eddy wrote this: “Thus founded upon the rock of Christ, when storm and tempest beat against this sure foundation, you, safely sheltered in the strong tower of hope, faith, and Love, are God’s nestlings; and He will hide you in His feathers till the storm has passed” (p. 152).
As we keep God’s power and goodness dominant in our thoughts, recognizing the harmony that He sustains, each of us is His nestling, safely sheltered. The law of divine Love will guide, preserve, protect. It will lift off the burden of fear and bring us safely through any storm.