WHILE living on the top floor of a rooming house during my college years, I suddenly woke up one night after sleeping soundly for several hours. After a while I went back to bed but couldn't sleep. Eventually I noticed a weak odor. It was smoke coming from a heater vent. As was often the case, no one else on my floor was home. To reach the group of women who rented the main floor of the house, it was necessary to go downstairs and outside and knock on the front door, since the top floor had a separate entrance. This I did, knocking loudly for what seemed like several minutes. When one of the women finally opened the door, smoke billowed out onto the porch. They had been sleeping in spite of thick smoke on their floor. A smoldering fire in the basement, caused by a candle that had been left burning, was put out. No one was hurt.
Since becoming a Christian Scientist, I had seen many unmistakable signs of God's guidance and protection. I felt sure this was one of them. And this incident illustrated for me the importance of yielding to the divine prompting to be spiritually prepared to meet challenges. Earlier that day I had been divinely impelled to pray specifically about protection from fire. Such impulsions come through our spiritual sense, the means by which we perceive the guidance, intuitions, and ideas that flow from Spirit, God.
I had been reading an article in the Christian Science Sentinel that discussed the need to acknowledge God's everpresent control whenever one hears a fire siren. I sat down to pray about this immediately, since there was a fire station up the street and fire trucks raced by my house frequently. Despite the spectrum of despair and discord that we often see around us, I expected my prayers to have an effect.
Christian Science helps us see that divine Love's care is ever available, but that we have to discern this fact and bring it to bear on the situation by yielding to God's power through prayer. His power is the power of divine Truth over misconceptions. We need to realize that God, Truth itself, is actually present and in control of His universe and increasingly recognize that whatever is unlike God has no validity -- is a misconception of reality -- in spite of what our senses tell us. The true nature of our environment is spiritual and good, expressing the nature of our creator.
When I first began studying Christian Science some years earlier, I came to understand that as we yield to God as our only Mind and source of truth, we experience healing. Health replaces sickness, spiritual purity overcomes sin, and we are protected from destructive elements. ``Controlled by the divine intelligence, man is harmonious and eternal,''1 writes Mary Baker Eddy, the Discoverer and Founder of Christian Science.
Recently, when I was facing several challenges and making frequent mistakes, the experience of protection from fire provided a helpful reminder of the need to trust more consistently and unreservedly in God's protection while spending more time in communion with Him through prayer. Christ Jesus taught, ``When thou prayest, enter into thy closet, and when thou hast shut thy door, pray to thy Father which is in secret; and thy Father which seeth in secret shall reward thee openly.''2
Abiding in the spiritual consciousness of God's presence and of man's safety in His care showed me how to correct my mistakes. I looked forward with expectancy to divine Love's resolution of the challenges. A couple of them dissolved quickly. My family was protected from disease in cases where symptoms began to appear but were quickly healed and also where there had been exposure to situations considered contagious.
To be safe, we must humbly depend on the sufficiency of Truth itself, for only the light of Truth can destroy the sense of separation from Deity that would make us vulnerable. The light of Truth reveals God's absolute control of our lives.
1Science and Health with Key to the Scriptures, p. 184. 2Matthew 6:6.
You can find more articles like this one in the Christian Science Sentinel, a weekly magazine. DAILY BIBLE VERSE: He that dwelleth in the secret place of the most High shall abide under the shadow of the Almighty. Psalms 91:1