The question confronting many of us today is whether faith in God is a genuine help in times of serious threats to human life and welfare. It’s not just a theoretical, theological question. It’s a question that goes to the heart of what we know of God and whether our relation to God matters in human affairs.
In the Bible, the Psalmist certainly saw God as a protection. He was well acquainted with danger but was able to record one of the most loved and comforting passages from the Bible. It begins: “He that dwelleth in the secret place of the most High shall abide under the shadow of the Almighty. I will say of the Lord, He is my refuge and my fortress: my God; in him will I trust. Surely he shall deliver thee from the snare of the fowler, and from the noisome pestilence. He shall cover thee with his feathers, and under his wings shalt thou trust: his truth shall be thy shield and buckler” (Psalms 91:1-4).
In another psalm is this heartfelt prayer: “Shew thy marvellous lovingkindness, O thou that savest by thy right hand them which put their trust in thee from those that rise up against them. Keep me as the apple of the eye, hide me under the shadow of thy wings” (Psalms 17:7, 8). In both of these psalms, there is clear promise of safety under the wings – the care – of our Father-Mother God. We are not only safe from evil but hid from evil.
Certainly these and many other similar passages from the Bible point to something fundamental about our relation to God. Would not our creator, our loving Father, preserve His cherished creation, His loved children? Does not the Almighty have the ability to keep us safe? And would not the presence and power of our Mother, infinite divine Love, be more than sufficient to preclude harm and guide us safely?
Christian Science answers yes to these questions, not on the basis of a blind faith in God but on the basis that our relation to God is eternal, unchanging, and understandable – and that our real identity and being are found in Spirit, God, who is our Life.
The Discoverer and Founder of Christian Science, Mary Baker Eddy, writes in her book “Science and Health with Key to the Scriptures”: “It is ignorance and false belief, based on a material sense of things, which hide spiritual beauty and goodness. Understanding this, Paul said: ‘Neither death, nor life,... nor things present, nor things to come, nor height, nor depth, nor any other creature, shall be able to separate us from the love of God.’ This is the doctrine of Christian Science: that divine Love cannot be deprived of its manifestation, or object; that joy cannot be turned into sorrow, for sorrow is not the master of joy; that good can never produce evil; that matter can never produce mind nor life result in death” (p. 304).
And elsewhere in the same book she writes, “Clad in the panoply of Love, human hatred cannot reach you” (p. 571).
What opens our eyes to divine Love’s ever-presence, and our consequent safety in Love, is prayer that seeks to understand spiritually what is “secret” to the physical senses, unseen to materialism. In the secret place of our love for God and trust in Him, we abide under the natural goodness of Love, are directed by unerring Mind to be in the right place at the right time, and are safe in the righteous government of divine Principle.
Through prayer we can begin to perceive the reality of our own individual selfhood and that of all humanity to be not the mortality and vulnerability presented by the senses but the immortal, loved idea, or expression – the eternal witness and proof of our dear Father-Mother’s nature and being. As such, we are never separated from Life, because we forever express Life. We are never separated from Love, because Love is making Herself known through us.
Christ Jesus said: “Are not two sparrows sold for a farthing? and one of them shall not fall on the ground without your Father. But the very hairs of your head are all numbered. Fear ye not therefore, ye are of more value than many sparrows” (Matthew 10:29-31).
We can daily pray to acknowledge the ineffable love our Father-Mother God has for us and for all His, Her, sons and daughters. The strong but tender Fatherhood and Motherhood of God is an active, protecting presence, which we perceive through spiritual understanding. It is the Holy Ghost, the spirit of Truth, the embracing activity of Love, operating in our thought and experience, to inspire and guide us. And through prayer that recognizes the universal divine activity of Love, we can make a difference in the lives of people we don’t even know.