Are you a person who doesn't go out in the evening after dark because you know someone who was mugged? Or are you a teenager who avoids walking down a certain street because you know it is the turf of some gang? To live in a state of constant unease because of such fears is both depressing and debilitating. But all fears can be overcome if we know the right source of protection-God.
It is helpful to begin each day by understanding that we are forever in God's presence and safeguarded by His love. It's also helpful to remember that we are constantly subject to God's guidance. We can thank Him for this. We can hear Him best by being very still, seeking to be calm and open to the inspiration of spiritual thoughts. As we hear the messages of God that come to thought, we are led to find practical steps opening a way to the resolution of all kinds of problems. We can then face each day with greater confidence because we know it is none other than God who has destroyed our fears.
Christian Science teaches the nature of God. The writings of Mary Baker Eddy, who founded the Church of Christ, Scientist, have greatly expanded my understanding of God. One of her statements describes Him as "the great I am; the all-knowing, all-seeing, all-acting, all-wise, all-loving, and eternal; Principle; Mind; Soul; Spirit; Life; Truth; Love; all substance; intelligence." That is from her book Science and Health with Key to the Scriptures (p. 587). Because God is Love, understanding God means feeling loved and feeling safe. The Bible says in First John: "There is no fear in love; but perfect love casteth out fear: because fear hath torment. He that feareth is not made perfect in love" (4:18).
I proved this at a time of war when my country was under heavy air raids, night after night and day after day. One of my volunteer jobs required me to go out during those raids, to visit shelters dug into the earth. This was sometimes a scary business, for I never knew who or what I would find in the shelters.
I was new to Christian Science at that time, but I had already learned that I could trust God. I found great comfort and encouragement from studying the Bible and Science and Health. I also practically lived with the ninety-first Psalm. Perhaps you are familiar with its first verse: "He that dwelleth in the secret place of the most High shall abide under the shadow of the Almighty." Every verse of this psalm spoke to the predicaments we all were facing in my country. The ninth and tenth verses say, "Because thou hast made the Lord, which is my refuge, even the most High, thy habitation; there shall no evil befall thee, neither shall any plague come nigh thy dwelling."
I was striving earnestly to understand that I indeed did dwell in the habitation of "the most High." And I reasoned that, just as God is Love, so too He is Life itself, and consequently I, God's creation, could not be in danger of losing my life. Because God is Spirit, my true being is spiritual and not subject to harm from material forces.
I can remember a wonderful feeling, as a result of this prayer, not only of being unafraid, but also of being definitely safe-even though the flying bombs were coming over every day.
Those lessons of true safety that I learned in wartime have continued to bless me in the following years. And the awareness of God's presence has enabled me to take many journeys alone on different continents. I have learned that when we go to God first, we are certainly looking in the right and best direction to find help, hope, and healing.
Fear thou not; for I am
with thee: be not dismayed;
for I am thy God: I will
strengthen thee; yea, I will
help thee; yea, I will uphold
thee with the right hand
of my righteousness.