MOST of us have probably known moments of great fear when rational thinking seemed to be of no help. It is during such moments that turning to God, who is omnipotent Love, can give us the freedom we need. It appears that there are so many things that can make us afraid. Yet in a profound sense it isn't things that create fear but the underlying belief in a power other than God, who is good alone. Whether fear appears legitimate or not, the fact remains that fear is always an incorrect state of thought, because God is the only genuine power -- not merely a stronger power. This may seem abstract theory in the face of human suffering, yet it's the very basis for alleviating that suffering.
It is sometimes said that fear may serve a good purpose if it restrains us from foolish acts. That may be so, but more often than not, fear is the cause of much misery. God-given wisdom can keep us from committing foolish acts, while also healing our fears.
Fear seems valid and inescapable only to a limited, materialistic sense of life that perceives God as at best distant and unable to help. But as the Bible teaches us, God is omnipresent Spirit, the source and substance of all true being. When we acknowledge and come to feel in prayer the eternal fact that we ``live, and move, and have our being''1 in Spirit, we shatter the premise on which fear rests and glimpse the spiritual reality of ever-present good. The Psalmist perceived something of the infinity of God, good, when he declared that there was no place where Spirit's loving, protective power could not be found.2
To begin to comprehend God's allness is to gain an intimation of where man is and what he truly is. We realize that the Bible is referring to what we really are when it speaks of man as made in God's own likeness.3 We begin to give less weight to what our eyes and ears tell us and rely more on that inner voice that confirms man's spiritual substantiality and safety in God's care.
This is not to ignore evil but to gain increasing dominion over it through a developing conviction that we belong to God, Spirit, and that nothing can take us out of His kingdom.
Mary Baker Eddy, the Discoverer and Founder of Christian Science, writes: ``In proportion as matter loses to human sense all entity as man, in that proportion does man become its master. He enters into a diviner sense of the facts, and comprehends the theology of Jesus as demonstrated in healing the sick, raising the dead, and walking over the wave. All these deeds manifested Jesus' control over the belief that matter is substance, that it can be the arbiter of life or the constructor of any form of existence.''4
The divine influence, or Christ, is present today even in the most trying circumstances to replace panic with a correct sense of the immediacy of good. Christ's healing influence is as close as one's receptive thought.
A deeper sense of the allness of God helped my sister demonstrate her freedom from a longstanding fear of being under- water. Although she possessed basic swimming skills, she would panic if any part of her face was momentarily submerged. She sought to heal the fear through Christian Science. Her dedicated study and prayers gave her the spiritual conviction that it is impossible for man to be separated from divine Love's omnipotent care.
She recently returned from a recreational diving trip where she dived to a depth of eighty feet -- proof of her clearer understanding that God is always sustaining man, even ``in the uttermost parts of the sea.''5
1See Acts 17:28. 2See Psalms 139:7-10. 3See Genesis 1:26. 4Science and Health with Key to the Scriptures, p. 369. 5Psalms 139:9.