To Fly Safely

MY pilot friend and I had flown in a single-engine plane to a nearby airport where I had to conduct some business. When we had started off, the weather had been fine and the winds calm. But even as we left the neighboring airport, the winds strengthened. By the time we got back to our home base, they were also blowing in a way that made landing a small plane difficult.

Although I trust my friend's abilities, I felt more than a little scared. There didn't seem to be much we could do about the wind! When we were not able to land on our first attempt, I prayed, recalling an experience Christ Jesus' disciples had when the wind was ''contrary.''

Christ Jesus had sent them ahead to Bethsaida, Mark's Gospel tells us, while he stayed behind to pray (see 6:4551). Their ship got caught in a contrary wind that they had to row against. I've been in a boat on a windy lake, and could imagine the choppy waves threatening to swamp their boat! Jesus, having finished his prayer, saw their predicament and walked across the sea to them. Of course in their troubled situation, when they saw him they were afraid at first, thinking he was a spirit. But his response quieted them--and the sea. He said, ''Be of good cheer: it is I; be not afraid.''

Jesus' God-given power over material conditions shown in the Bible account flashed through my thought far more quickly than I can describe. Along with it came a conviction that there could be no resistance to God's infinite perfection and goodness. Mary Baker Eddy, the Discoverer and Founder of Christian Science, explains this in her book Science and Health with Key to the Scriptures. She writes: ''Jesus said: 'I knew that Thou hearest me always;' and he raised Lazarus from the dead, stilled the tempest, healed the sick, walked on the water. There is divine authority for believing in the superiority of spiritual power over material resistance'' (p. 134).

This certainty of ''the superiority of spiritual power'' was so clear that it brought instant peace to my thought. I felt the presence of Christ, of man's spiritual unity with God. I felt safe in God's care. The next try at landing was successful, and we were both glad to be on the ground!

Whether one is flying in a small plane or in a jumbo jet, the divine laws that helped me that day apply. In reality, all people can trust in God's care. God is infinite Mind, and man is His spiritual idea. In our prayer for a flight, we can affirm that divine Mind, being infinite, is ever present and that no one can be cut off from its wisdom, foresight, and insight.

Our fellow passengers and the flight crew are all spiritual ideas of God--just as we are--and not one of us can be subject to fear, boredom, carelessness, confusion, or any other distracting element. Each of us can express inspiration, joy, and intelligence.

And since God is divine Principle, our flight isn't subject to randomness or chance. We are not statistics; we are the spiritual ideas of God! We are not subject to material beliefs that might predict a certain number of air crashes or malfunctions per year. Jesus and his followers were never subject to statistics, and we don't need to be either. All of us are under the loving government of the one Mind.

Should unusual conditions arise--such as happened in the flight I was on--we can turn specifically to divine Love for safety and comfort. Psalm 91 in the Bible says of God, ''He shall cover thee with his feathers, and under his wings shalt thou trust'' (verse 4). God never sends evil or suffering to man; He gives only goodness and love.

God is man's Life, so no purpose of His can ever include death or trouble. The belief that we are material beings, cut off from our true spiritual nature as His ideas, is erroneous. God's law of good is always in operation. In times of trouble, turning to this law brings peace not just to us but to all who are on the flight.

Praying in this way not only enables us to be happier passengers. It also leads to happy landings--as my own experience when the wind was ''contrary'' proved.

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