FREE fall is the part of the parachute jump before the parachute opens. This term is also used sometimes to describe a moment of fear, the absence of any human controls, or a time when complete protection from harm cannot be assured. We hear it used for a situation where one feels ''out of control.''
There are such moments in everyone's experience, times when you are helpless humanly to affect an outcome. But, in fact, you aren't without help. God is always present to guide and protect us. Many thoughtful people find freedom from the fear of unpredictable events through prayer. In such moments they seek--and find--assurance in the Bible's healing message. Comfort, genuine assurance, and a confident sense of protection are the result of a prayerful study of the Scriptures and especially of the life and works of Christ Jesus.
Such study shows us clearly that God is the one perfect, all-knowing, all-powerful source of man's complete deliverance from danger and fear. Moses speaks of this in his blessing to the children of Israel in the book of Deuteronomy: ''The eternal God is thy refuge, and underneath are the everlasting arms'' (33:27). The Discoverer and Founder of Christian Science, Mary Baker Eddy, knew a great deal about safety in God's care. One of her most deep-felt responses was a poem that conveys a solid certainty of the divine protection each of us can depend on. It's called ''The Mother's Evening Prayer'' (Poems, p. 4) and begins:
O gentle presence, peace and joy
O Life divine, that owns each
Thou Love that guards the nest-
ling's faltering flight!
Keep Thou my child on up-
ward wing tonight.
We all cherish moments of human tenderness and protection such as a mother holding her child's hand while they cross the street together, people comforting one another in times of tragedy or fear. But God's care for us goes even deeper. When we reach out to understand and obey Him, we can be confident that we feel His care for us. We experience His protection and we are safe. This spiritual reliance on God is as practical in today's world as it was in Moses' time.
The way to be free of the burdens of doubt and fear is truly found in the clear realization and identification of ourselves as God's beloved children. In the New Testament, we read of times when the disciples were filled with doubt and fear: aboard a boat in a heavy storm, facing a hostile audience, moments of seeming lack or gnawing doubt and questioning. Their Master, Jesus of Nazareth, however, rebuked fear. His confident dependence on God for healing and protection showed them, and us, that faith in God is something more than an emotion. The presence of the Christ led them to the safety and security of obedience to God's laws.
Today, that same power is available to all of us, to everyone needing the deep conviction that all is well, when we turn to God in prayer. In her book Science and Health with Key to the Scriptures, Mrs. Eddy writes: ''I have demonstrated through Mind the effects of Truth on the health, longevity, and morals of men; and I have found nothing in ancient or in modern systems on which to found my own, except the teachings and demonstrations of our great Master and the lives of prophets and apostles. The Bible has been my only authority'' (p. 126).
The terms we use to describe our fear may change, but the feeling of threatening forces beyond our control is not new. It has been known through all time. Yet so has the solution. God is here, to inspire us, and to bring calm, certainty, and protection. Trusting His guidance brings us safely home. We can never fall out of God's care, for He is always holding us tenderly in His arms.
The Christian Science Sentinel, a weekly magazine, contains more articles about God's power to heal.