Recently, when I went out on a walk to get the Sunday paper, a man coming toward me pulled out a knife and demanded my money. As he was still a step away from me, I was able to run from him. Reaching the end of the block, I found that he had fled in the opposite direction.
I had been thinking through the words of a poem by Mary Baker Eddy, the Discoverer and Founder of Christian Science, and one phrase reassured me considerably: ''His arm encircles me, and mine, and all.'' n1 This affirmation of God's presence removed the sense of fear and shock. I purchased my paper and returned home.
n1 Poems, p. 4
I thought about this occurrence several times during the day. Naturally I was grateful for being protected from harm. But I was also concerned, because such events are not infrequent today, and we all want to know how to be safe. As I prayed about this, a thought from the Bible kept coming to mind: He will make ''a way to escape.'' The whole verse reads, ''There hath no temptation taken you but such as is common to man: but God is faithful, who will not suffer you to be tempted above that ye are able; but will with the temptation also make a way to escape, that ye may be able to bear it.'' n2
n2 I Corinthians 10:13.
We might say that we're being tempted every time we're inclined to believe that evil, rather than God, is power. Perhaps we're tempted to believe that we can be victimized by criminality, or by unemployment, or that we can be terrorized by our own bodies. Yet the Bible assures us that God is faithful.
When you come down to it, every temptation to believe in evil is a suggestion that we're not under the care of God or that His care is ineffective. Accepting this false suggestion, we tend to suffer. But if we remember that God, divine Love, is ever faithful, forever present, we will find a way of escape from every evil threat.
What is this way of escape? It is the power and activity of the Christ, God's eternal healing message. Christ makes evident to human thought the true nature of God and man. It reveals man as God's image, eternally free and safe, and the light of this understanding enables us to prove our freedom, whatever the challenge.
Jesus so embodied the Christ-power that he was able to heal those who were suffering; to pass unscathed through a crowd that wished to injure him; to still a storm that was about to swamp the disciples' boat. It was the Christ-spirit in Jesus that gave him divine authority; a calm, steadfast assurance of the triumphant power of God.
The practice of Christian Science rouses us to see that the kingdom of God is actually at hand, as Christ Jesus proclaimed. In truth we dwell in the infinite realm of God and are governed by Him. This spiritual fact, understood and deeply felt through prayer, releases us from disease and injustice, from the grasp of all false claimants to law, power, or authority.
In darkness we feel our way uncertainly, perhaps stumble over unseen obstacles; we're hesitant, unsure of ourselves. But turn on the light and we're immediately free. Christ, Truth, is our light, our ''way to escape.'' In this spiritual light wrong action is arrested, its motive and intent annulled. Evil diminishes, and we're deeply reassured by the touch of divine Love. We learn that we are safe in God's care.
Who among us doesn't need this ''way to escape''? It liberates us from fear and dissolves danger. It gives us self-evident proof that ''His arm encircles me , and mine, and all.'' DAILY BIBLE VERSE Give ear to my prayer, O God; and hide not thyself from my supplication. . . I will call upon God; and the Lord shall save me. Evening, and morning, and at noon, will I pray, and cry aloud: and he shall hear my voice. He hath delivered my soul in peace. . . . Psalms 55:1, 16-18