The late English actress and entertainer Joyce Grenfell recalled being stuck in an elevator with a young woman. Joyce was all right, but the woman was pale and desperate. In an attempt to comfort her, the actress said: "Wherever we are, we are always in the same place-whether we are in a lift, on or under ground, in the air, on or in the sea, in or out of buildings" (Joyce by herself and her friends [London: Futura Publications, 1980], p. 188). Shortly after this the elevator started up, and the two women went their separate ways.
Joyce Grenfell was a Christian Scientist, and without appearing preachy or patronizing, was trying to convey to that upset passenger a spiritual truth concerning God's ever-presence. The message must have made an impression, because some years later Joyce met that same woman again. She thanked her for what she had said when they were stuck, and told her that it had helped her-and that she had found it helpful ever since.
It's true. Wherever you are, you are always in God's presence. There is no need to be afraid, whatever situation you find yourself in, because God is with you. There is no condition or experience you can face where God is not available to help.
Christ Jesus came to prove the powerlessness of evil and the omnipresence of God, who is infinitely good. He showed that evil, fear, and hatred should not be tolerated. He was master over all situations because he understood God's-his Father's-infinitude. This understanding made him fearless. More than once he told his doubting disciples not to be afraid.
Christian Science is the Science behind what Jesus taught. It shows us in this day and age how the understanding of God, sought and practiced, overcomes sin and sickness in the way Jesus demonstrated. Mary Baker Eddy, who discovered Christian Science, wrote, "Christian scientific practice begins with Christ's keynote of harmony, 'Be not afraid!' " (Science and Health with Key to the Scriptures, p. 410). Whether you find yourself stuck in an elevator or stuck in any other disturbing situation such as a divorce, a frightening medical diagnosis, or unemployment, there is an answer. The Bible puts it this way, "And it shall come to pass, that before they call, I will answer; and while they are yet speaking, I will hear" (Isaiah 65:24).
Wherever we are, whatever we are doing, by turning our thought to God we experience His ever-present communication with us. And that is not all. St. Matthew cites Jesus as promising, "Your Father knoweth what things ye have need of, before ye ask him" (6:8).
God is the divine Mind, a name Christian Science uses for Him. Prayer, uplifting our thought, opens up the channels for divine intelligence to reach us. Understanding God to be Mind, we can see that intelligent direction has to be always with us. This enables us to see ourselves also as the idea of God, inseparable from divine consciousness. Gaining the understanding of this entirely spiritual identity as God's very idea, we are invulnerable to danger, safe, one with God.
I was certainly helped by this understanding on a sea trip of about six miles that we took in a tiny, inflatable dinghy, between some rocky islands. The outward trip was calm. On our return, however, the seas were high and the weather closing in. We tried to signal a passing ship, but it was impossible for us to be seen amid mounting waves. Then the little outboard motor failed us. I was tempted to feel very angry with my husband for undertaking such a trip in the first place. But I knew that would be a waste of time. What I needed to do was to pray. And I did so with all my might.
I declared that God was always present and everywhere. Therefore there was nothing I needed to be afraid of; one could not be in the presence of God, who is Love, and in the presence of fear and danger at the same time. I pondered these truths until I felt peaceful. Eventually my husband got the motor started, and we were able to limp slowly home on a minimum of power.
It's true. Wherever we are, we are always in the same place-in the presence of God. There's always the opportunity to reach out and feel that presence, whether you're in a boat, a stuck elevator, or wherever!