SOMETIMES people make mistakes. There may be errors of judgment, things sometimes don't work out the way one planned, or there may be other factors at work that cause problems. The Monday morning quarterback can tell us--after it's all over--what we should have done. But if I were in a situation where everything was falling apart around me, I'd sure like to have someone like the Apostle Paul around.
Toward the end of his life, Paul was being taken with some other prisoners to Rome. They stopped in a small harbor in Crete at the very end of the sailing season. Paul warned against continuing, but the master of the ship wanted to move on to a larger harbor to wait out the stormy winter season. At first the wind was fair, but it wasn't long before they were in the midst of a severe storm. Despite their efforts to manage the ship, it seemed that they would all be killed.
At this moment of crisis Paul was conscious of God's presence and power. He stood up, we read in Acts, and addressed the men on the ship. ``Sirs, ye should have hearkened unto me, and not have loosed from Crete, and to have gained this harm and loss. And now I exhort you to be of good cheer: for there shall be no loss of any man's life among you, but of the ship. For there stood by me this night the angel of God, whose I am, and whom I serve, saying, Fear not, Paul; thou must be brought before Caesar: and, lo, God hath given thee all them that sail with thee'' (27:21-24). After the ship ran aground, everyone aboard made it safely to shore where they were cared for by the local people.
God's guidance and care don't desert us at the moment of our greatest need. If, as Paul did in the midst of the storm, we turn to God with all our heart, we will find certain proof of His love. Sometimes we become so mesmerized by fear and hopelessness that we make no genuine effort to turn immediately to God. Or we may become caught up in blaming ourselves or others for our misfortune. All this simply delays our reaching out to God for help.
But there is no need for even a moment's hesitation. The law of God, the operation of divine Love, is ever present and ever active. You can be in no circumstance that is beyond the reach of God's healing and saving power. This is the message Christ Jesus' life brings to mankind. He was able to save even the hardened sinner and those on the verge of death. His lifework illustrated the power of God to heal in every instance. Christian Science demonstrates that Jesus' lifework is as vital to people today as it was to his original disciples.
How do we reach out to God effectively? Something more is needed than desperate pleading. The first chapter of Science and Health with Key to the Scriptures by Mary Baker Eddy, the Discoverer and Founder of Christian Science, is titled ``Prayer.'' It teaches that an acknowledgment of the supreme power of God, a spirit of humbleness, and confidence in His goodness give us audience with divine Spirit. This provides us with a view of life rather than death, it helps us to correct errors, it reestablishes our moral compass. God's law establishes a sense of order, harmony, and health.
In one of her poems, Mrs. Eddy writes (Poems, p. 12):
And o'er earth's troubled,
I see Christ walk,
And come to me, and tenderly,
Thus Truth engrounds me on
Upon Life's shore,
'Gainst which the winds
and waves can shock,
When disaster is all that we can see or foresee, we should remember that Christ, God's healing and saving message, is at hand. There is always a way out of trouble. Through Christ that way can become clear to us, step by step, day by day.