Recently a friend asked me, "Do you have any ideas about how a woman living alone can deal with fear when she hears strange noises at night? Maybe this is just an inevitable part of twentieth-century life, but it seems ridiculous to be afraid in my own home."
I like the way her question protests against the general feeling that fear is something we have to tolerate. Fear stems from the unknown. If we knew the strange noise in the night was the neighbor's cat, our fear would vanish. However, even when the circumstances seem genuinely menacing, ignorance is the real problem -- an ignorance of the all- powerful, protecting presence of God. Understanding God can effectively eliminate fear for us in any situation.
Christ Jesus was the most fearless man the world has known. His was neither naive blindness to evil nor mere bravado, but a deep awareness that man is never removed from the care of his Father- Mother God. Facing the desertion of his friends and his own crucifixion, he said, "I am not alone, because the Father is with me." n1
n1 John 16:32
We feel God's presence, too, as we come to know Him better. Mary Baker Eddy n2 gives this definition of God in the Christian Science textbook: "The great I AM; the all-knowing, all-seeing, all-acting, all-wise, all-loving-, and eternal; Principle; Mind; soul; Spirit; Life; Truth; Love; all substance; intelligence." n3
n2 Mrs. Eddy is the Discoverer and Founder of Christian Science;
n3 Science and Health with Key to the Scriptures,m p. 587
Thoughtful consideration of these terms for God's nature can form the basis of prayer that eliminates fear. Along with a growing understanding of God -- and proceeding from it -- comes a clearer recognition of the true nature of man. Jesus related man to God in two opening words of the Lord's Prayer -- a relationship that, when understood in its fullest sense, promises permanent freedom from fear. He began, "Our Father." n4
n4 Matthew 6:9.
God is the Father of man. In light of the definition of God given above, this fact has meaning infinitely beyond the symbol of human parenthood, as comforting and true as a parent's love for a child is. God is the Life of man. God is the Mind governing man. The eternal Principle of man is Love.
These facts, realized and consistently lived, eliminate fear. Our life can never be destroyed, because God is our Life. Reflecting the nature of our Father, eternal Spirit, we are spiritual and undefilable. We can never lose consciousness, because our Mind is the great I AM, infinite and ever present.
Such reasoning helped me in a frightening situation. I was the lone staff member at a library near my university one evening. Just at closing time, as the last student left, a man came in. He placed himself between me and the door of the office and started to make threatening remarks. Immediately I began to pray. Even though no human help was available, I knew God was present. I assured the man that God was his Father and my Father, and that he did not want to harm his own sister. As he continued to talk, I silently prayed, knowing that the power and gentleness of Love surrounded both of us, and that, in his true nature, this man was the innocent child of God.
Before long the man visibly calmed down. A student returned for a forgotten item. Together we reasoned with the man. He finally left, thanking me for my Christian love.
What had been the effect of my prayer? My fear was eliminated, replaced with God's love for His child. The man had felt the influence of divine Love; he had been touched by the Christ and had yielded to it. He became responsive to the one true Mind. God's all-knowing, all-seeing intelligence was shown to me in a way I could understand -- the student came when I needed help.
Fear is not an inevitable part of life. Its remedy, spiritual understanding, is always at hand. Through prayer we can begin eliminating fear today. DAILY BIBLE VERSE The kingdom of God is not in word, but in power. What will ye? shall I come unto you with a rod, or in love, and in the s pirit of meekness? I Corinthians 4:20, 21