NOT long ago I was traveling by bus in a country I had never visited before, and at one of the stopping places I found myself separated from the rest of the travelers and the bus. While I didn't know the language, I did manage to get some idea of where I was. Yet there seemed nothing else to do but to begin searching the city in the hope of meeting the others. I started to walk in the hot sun with a sinking heart. There were plenty of people around, and yet there wasn't even a telephone. After a while I almost panicked, but I stopped and began to pray as best I could. My prayer was for calmness and fearlessness. I strove to feel God's ever-present love and protection, regardless of the circumstances that confronted me.
A Bible verse from Exodus came to thought: ``Behold, I send an Angel before thee, to keep thee in the way, and to bring thee into the place which I have prepared.''1 And another one from Isaiah: ``Fear thou not; for I am with thee: be not dismayed; for I am thy God: I will strengthen thee; yea, I will help thee; yea, I will uphold thee with the right hand of my righteousness.''2 I became much calmer.
I began to see myself more clearly as the Bible describes man -- created by God and inseparable from His wisdom and constant care. Seeing this to be true in my apparently abandoned position was my first priority. In God's sight I wasn't lost, separated, unloved, unprotected, and I needed to see that this was the spiritual truth of my being, which could be proved right then.
I enlarged my sense of this idea to include the others. I saw that my driver and all the people in the bus (even those around me on these busy streets) were also children of one Father-Mother God. Surely I could trust that the same divine power was guiding all of us and that this power would guide those I was traveling with in their search for me. After about an hour of walking with these thoughts, I saw a bus slowly coming toward me and stopping. It was the one I was looking for, and the one that was looking for me. This reminded me of Jesus' parable about the lost sheep.3 The shepherd went out to seek and find the one lost sheep among a hundred and didn't rest until he had done so.
Mary Baker Eddy, who discovered and founded Christian Science, observes: ``God is universal; confined to no spot, defined by no dogma, appropriated by no sect. Not more to one than to all, is God demonstrable as divine Life, Truth, and Love; and His people are they that reflect Him -- that reflect Love. Again, this infinite Principle, with its universal manifestation, is all that really is or can be; hence God is our Shepherd. He guards, guides, feeds, and folds the sheep of His pasture; and their ears are attuned to His call.''4
What happened in this little incident? As far as I was concerned, I could only begin to be calm once I had raised my thinking to a more spiritual level. Persisting in the realization of my unity with my creator helped diminish the fear of being stranded. Christian Science emphasizes this fact that our actual, spiritual identity is inseparable from God, and it shows us how to prove the harmony of that relationship in the small and large events of our lives.
In the absolute truth of being, no individual can be lost. Each one is indispensable to God, never separated from Him. Man isn't a strayed sheep yearning for the fold, a traveler journeying to distant gates of heaven, a voyager tossed on perilous oceans. He's safe in the care of his creator, and this truth is provable universally.
1Exodus 23:20. 2Isaiah 41:10. 3See Luke 15:3-7. 4Miscellaneous Writings, pp. 150-151.