Rising above turbulence
THE plane gained altitude and leveled off. We settled back to wait for the meal the flight attendants were preparing. Suddenly the aircraft began to bounce around. The captain said over the loudspeaker, ``Everyone, please return to your seats and fasten your seat belts. We're having to delay serving dinner because of turbulence.'' Not long after this, we stopped moving violently around and calm returned. The captain had taken the plane higher, and risen above the turbulence. It's not uncommon in human life to encounter turbulence in the atmosphere of thought, and such mental turbulence can bring friction into our lives. This may appear as an unhappy school situation, relationships that are strained, a job that may not be going as smoothly as normal.
Our pilot took the plane higher to get beyond the turmoil in the atmosphere. Turbulence of any kind is a demand upon us to rise higher in thought, to spiritualize our thinking until we achieve the mental clarity that enables us to regain our normal calm.
How do we do this? In the Bible is an account of a journey made by Paul, who converted to Christianity not long after Christ Jesus' ministry. Persecuted for spreading the gospel, he was being taken across the Mediterranean Sea to imprisonment in Rome. Along the way the ship encountered great turbulence -- a fierce storm drove it off course, out of control. The crew battled the storm and then faced shipwreck on the shore of Malta. Confusion had been rampant. Some of the sailors had tried surreptitiously to lower a boat over the side and escape, which would have been disastrous. But Paul had been receptive to divine direction, and as a result he was able to exercise the strength and vision needed to advise his guards what to do. His clear thought and spiritual understanding of God brought them to safety.1
In the storms we encounter, prayer can provide us with needed direction. As we open our hearts to our Father-Mother, God, and pray silently and sincerely for guidance, we gain the peace that lifts us above the turbulence around us. Mary Baker Eddy, the Discoverer and Founder of Christian Science, speaking of the rest and peace found in Christ, writes, ``The thought of it stills complaint; the heaving surf of life's troubled sea foams itself away, and underneath is a deep-settled calm.''2
Each one of God's children is, in reality, in that deep-settled calm of spiritual harmony where God is always present and in absolute control. His guiding and governing are all-powerful. They enable us to find the right solution, no matter how formidable a situation may appear.
There is no limit to our ability to climb spiritually -- to understand and to utilize the powerful spiritual facts of God and His government of man. Each challenge causes us, of necessity, to grow spiritually as we seek and find the eternal truths that give us dominion over turbulence.
For example, a strained relationship gives us the opportunity to discover that man is the child of God; that everyone's actual selfhood is His spiritual offspring; therefore we are all brothers, created by Him -- loving, just, understanding, and obedient to His commands. We can refuse to see anything but the true qualities of God expressed in the one we are trying to get along with. Far from simply ignoring errors that need healing, our efforts in this direction enable us to confront the claims of evil head-on and to recognize that they are no part of the man of God's creating. As we strive to see another more as God knows His child, we'll more readily see an appropriate, harmonizing resolution.
Through prayer to God, we'll feel something of the peace that comes from understanding our unity with Him and gain dominion over stormy experiences.
1See Acts, chap. 27. 2Message to The Mother Church for 1902, p. 19.
You can find more articles like this one in the Christian Science Sentinel, a weekly magazine. DAILY BIBLE VERSE: Oh that men would praise the Lord for his goodness, and for his wonderful works to the children of men!... He maketh the storm a calm, so that the waves thereof are still. Psalms 107:21,29