WE were driving over the rolling plains of the American heartland. Suddenly a giant tumbleweed, driven by powerful winds, bounced over the side of the road. Usually these dried, rounded ``weeds'' are small and harmless. This one was as high as the front of the car, with a thick stem. It struck the radiator grill, then bounced upwards, cracking the windshield. My husband was sitting beside me, reading the weekly Bible Lesson outlined in the Christian Science Quarterly. I had been thinking of one of the psalms, which concludes: ``The Lord shall preserve thee from all evil: he shall preserve thy soul. The Lord shall preserve thy going out and thy coming in from this time forth, and even for evermore.''1 I'm sure the peace and trust in God we both were feeling at that moment helped me to stay calm and not react as I applied the brakes and brought the car safely to the side of the road. It would have been so easy to have swerved to try to miss the weed, or to have braked suddenly. But this wouldn't have been the wisest thing to do with another car close behind. As it was, we were all unharmed.
The Bible promises of God's protection apply whether we're riding down the highway, operating a machine at work, or simply mowing the lawn. They tell us that God is always with His children, loving and caring for them. No matter how surprising or severe the challenge, it can be met and overcome, for the power and presence of God afford us protection wherever we may be.
However, it isn't enough just to hope that God will somehow take care of us. If you're sailing a boat through strange waters it's obvious that you need first to know the rules of navigation and second to apply them. Neglecting to do either of these would be foolhardy, if not dangerous. Similarly, in our lives we need to know who or what it is that protects us, and then apply this knowledge through understanding prayer.
In absolute truth, God's universe is spiritual and perfect because it expresses His nature as perfect Spirit. God lovingly governs His whole universe, and He is the one absolute power, never absent, always loving. Man's life, then, is in God's care, and as we glimpse and accept this spiritual reality, our lives begin to take on certainty and safety.
We can apply this understanding as we pray daily to find the harmony and peace needed for ourselves, our families, and our world. This prayer may take the form of gratitude to God for His nearness and protection. It may be a petition, perhaps echoing the words of the Psalmist ``Open thou mine eyes, that I may behold wondrous things out of thy law.''2 It may be a strong affirmation that the allness and power of God rule out chance, mistakes, accidents.
The Bible provides powerful illustrations of God's protective power. Moses and his followers were preserved from the pursuing Egyptians as they fled from Egypt. David escaped the jealous wrath of Saul. Christ Jesus walked through the middle of an angry mob, untouched, and proved in every facet of his ministry the supreme power of God.
The Discoverer and Founder of Christian Science, Mary Baker Eddy, writes, ``The history of Christianity furnishes sublime proofs of the supporting influence and protecting power bestowed on man by his heavenly Father, omnipotent Mind, who gives man faith and understanding whereby to defend himself, not only from temptation, but from bodily suffering.''3
In our encounter with the tumbleweed, we were grateful that we were not afraid, nor was our peace shattered. Later that day when we drove into the city where we were to spend the night, we found that the repair shop for our particular make of car was just two streets from our hotel, and the cracked windshield was replaced quickly and easily.
We need not fear that we can be outside God's care, for this is absolutely impossible. We can apply this understanding not only to our own circumstances but to situations that threaten the lives of individuals and communities around the world. Our prayers can provide tangible help as we see more clearly man's safety in God's ever-present care.
1Psalms 121:7, 8. 2Psalms 119:18. 3Science and Health with Key to the Scriptures, p. 387.
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