DRUG-RELATED thefts had escalated to assault in the neighborhood near the college our daughter attended. Authorities had been working for weeks to find those responsible, but with little success. The situation came to a head for us late one night when our daughter discovered that the building where she lived was not safe, yet it was even more dangerous to leave at that hour. Earlier that evening, she and some friends had got together to share spiritual insights they'd had. That night they'd focused on God as a refuge. The ninety-first Psalm had set the tone for the get-together. It begins: ``He that dwelleth in the secret place of the most High shall abide under the shadow of the Almighty. I will say of the Lord, He is my refuge and my fortress: my God; in him will I trust.'' And it continues with this promise of complete safety: ``Because thou hast made the Lord, which is my refuge, even the most High, thy habitation; there shall no evil befall thee, neither shall any plague come nigh thy dwelling.''1
Our family has seen many instances of protection through prayer, and our daughter knew that the psalm's profound assurances of safety were more than poetic affirmations and pointed to the healing that could come to the tense situation. After telephoning to say that she was all right, she locked the door to her room and began to study the ninety-first Psalm. I, too, turned with all my heart to God in prayer to gain a deeper understanding of the powerful safety of that ``secret place'' that the psalm describes.
Christian Science explains that man, as the image and likeness of God, Spirit, is wholly good and possesses God-given dominion and safety. The material senses dispute this spiritual concept of man, however, and aggressively claim that we are at the mercy of circumstances, subject pretty much to conditions outside our control. Yet Christ Jesus showed that man's freedom from discord and violence is spiritually real and can be proved as we claim our own unchangeable status as children of God.
Man's true being as the spiritual image of God dwells in ``the secret place of the most High,'' hidden from hatred and fear. Mary Baker Eddy, the Discoverer and Founder of Christian Science, explains, ``The `secret place,' whereof David sang, is unquestionably man's spiritual state in God's own image and likeness, even the inner sanctuary of divine Science, in which mortals do not enter without a struggle or sharp experience, and in which they put off the human for the divine.''2
It certainly was a struggle to conquer the panic I felt for our daughter, but through prayer fear gave way to an understanding that she was the beloved, protected child of God. A call the next morning confirmed her safety. There had been disturbances during the night, but she had remained safe. Others had been protected as well. That day the gang was arrested, and there were no further incidents in the neighborhood.
Man's -- our -- true identity as the image of God dwells ``under the shadow of the Almighty.'' Through prayer and spiritual growth we can utilize that Christly sanctuary and be brought safely through dangerous situations. In a world where even the most conscientious safety measures are sometimes not enough, it is good to know we have such a refuge.
1Psalms 91:1, 2, 9, 10. 2The First Church of Christ, Scientist, and Miscellany, p. 244.
You can find more articles about spiritual healing in the Christian Science Sentinel, a weekly magazine.