Trapped on an Island!
NO, it wasn't a shipwreck. It was a week-long family vacation on a rugged island off the coast. I dreaded the rustic living as time spent constrained, with few things to do and no communication with the shore.But in the end I learned a valuable spiritual lesson: There is never a time "isolated from God's love, and there is no curtailment of healing opportunities when we are responsive to His love. Something from the Bible about the Apostle Paul stimulated my thinking in this direction. The Book of Acts tells us that he was a prisoner once, bound for Rome on a ship when it hit stormy weather, ran aground, and broke up in the rough seas. The ship's company, including Paul, struggled ashore on an island called Melita, which almost surely is present-day Malta. Paul--who in a letter to the Ephesians described himself as "the prisoner of Jesus Christ--was bitten by a viper as he was laying wood on the fire that had been started to warm them. He shook off the viper and suffered not one ill effect. This evidence of God's protecting power kindled the receptivity of the island's inhabitants to Paul's God-inspired message. Later, Paul healed the father of Publius, the "chief man of the island. And the Bible account continues, "Others also, which had diseases in the island, came, and were healed. It's safe to assume that Paul did not feel trapped on this island. In fact, this intrepid apostle never allowed chains or a jail cell or an island to contain his work of preaching and healing. What was it that Paul knew which caused him to feel free even when he was held prisoner? It must have been a strong, strong conviction of the power, presence, and activity of God in his own life. Isn't the reason for this conviction evident in Paul's own declaration in his letter to the Romans: "Who shall separate us from the love of Christ? He continues by assuring us, "We are more than conquerors through him that loved us, and concludes that nothing, not "height, nor depth, nor any other creature, shal l be able to separate us from the love of God, which is in Christ Jesus our Lord. During our island vacation, the waters did separate me from the shore (and from my car, telephone, and all the other things involved in my work). But since the presence of God is universal and infinite, I began to see that He is never separate from what He creates. God is divine Spirit, so neither material nor mental barriers can cut God off from His universe. This, of course, includes man, the most important part of God's spiritual creation. The same line of reasoning which shows that all creation is in God's presence means that we are never separated from the healing action of God's law. As I learned to think more in terms of healing, regenerative, divine law, I no longer perceived islands and water channels as barriers that could somehow cut me off from God, good. The truth is, everything good--health, fulfillment, worth, peace--is already included in God's creation. So it is right now a part of man's experience. The real priority in our lives should be the overcoming of any mental barriers--doubt or fear--that would separate us from God's goodness. Mary Baker Eddy, the Discoverer and Founder of Christian Science, says in Science and Health with Key to the Scriptures, "The great miracle, to human sense, is divine Love, and the grand necessity of existence is to gain the true idea of what constitutes the kingdom of heaven in man. Our island vacation turned out just great! I found plenty to do in helping children explore and learn about tide-pool life. Best of all, I had the opportunity to share with another family some of the practical healing truths in the Bible.