IF you read the newspapers, including this one, you already know about the major earthquake that hit California last week. Even if you don't live in California or know anybody who lives there, it can be pretty scary to think about an earthquake happening all of a sudden like that.
When I'm afraid, the best solution I've found is to turn to God in prayer. And if you're worried about earthquakes, you might want to try this too. Some people feel that nothing really happens when you pray except that maybe you feel a little better. But this isn't what Christ Jesus thought.
Jesus demonstrated so clearly his relationship to God and lived so much in harmony with the Father that he is called the Son of God. The word Christ, which stands for this sonship, is the name that honors Jesus' life and his ministry. Jesus proved how powerful prayer can be. Through his spiritual understanding of God's law, he escaped from enemies who were jealous of him and who were plotting against him. He faced and silenced a major storm at sea. He healed people who were sick. He lovingly but firmly answered people who tried to trap him with tricky questions.
So you might say that Jesus' whole life was proof that prayer is useful and that it can help us and others. For example, if the news stories are making you feel afraid of earthquakes, here's a simple idea that can help. In the Bible there is a psalm that talks quite a bit about God's protection of His children (that's you and me and everyone). It says: ``He shall give his angels charge over thee, to keep thee in all thy ways. They shall bear thee up in their hands, lest thou dash thy foot against a stone'' (Psalms 91:11, 12).
At first these angels might sound a bit like Superman! Ac-tually, they are ideas that God is giving to all of us. These ``angels'' help us to know what to do even when we are afraid. As we listen for these ideas, they come to us wherever we are. Thoughts from God are always good, they always help us to be better, wiser, safer.
In considering earthquakes, it helps us to realize the truth that God's creation is spiritual. His angel thoughts show us that the substance He creates is indestructible. The universe He creates is unshakable. As Paul declared in Athens, ``In him we live, and move, and have our being'' (Acts 17:28). If we remember this we will be secure.
God's spiritual messages come to us when we quietly turn to Him and ask for His help. This can be as simple as ``Help me, God!'' Or you can affirm, ``God, I know You're with me always. Please help me know what to do.'' Mary Baker Eddy, the Discoverer and Founder of Christian Science, gives this special definition of angels in her book, Science and Health with Key to the Scriptures: ``God's thoughts passing to man; spiritual in-tuitions, pure and perfect; the inspiration of goodness, purity, and immortality, counteracting all evil, sensuality, and mortality'' (p. 581). If you listen to these angels, even if you are in an earthquake, you won't be confused or scared.
If you wanted to, you could even pray for the people in California by knowing that since God is everywhere, they too can feel and express God's loving care. When we pray for others, we are also thinking about how God's help is everywhere. That helps us when we are in trouble because we've already put those ``angel ideas'' into practice. So no matter where you are, you can start listening for His angels today! And they will show you how God keeps you and the rest of God's children safe.