Our apartment in Sicily commanded a beautiful view from its south balcony. The Plain of Catania, vast and bordered by low mountains, was visible past the houses and olive trees. During the summer, when sirocco winds from North Africa blew dry and hot, we went to the balcony to taste any hint of coolness on the night breeze.
That balcony was our place of refuge. For me it gave new meaning to these Biblical words about God: "Thou hast been a strength to the poor, a strength to the needy in his distress, a refuge from the storm, a shadow from the heat, when the blast of the terrible ones is as a storm against the wall" (Isaiah 25:4).
Have you ever thought of God as your stronghold? Not a cold, dark fortress of stone, but omnipotent Love, Life, and Truth? What a tower of strength God is in times of trouble! Nowhere else can we find such shelter.
From many balconies in our town, an old fortress was visible, built by the Normans in the twelfth century. Commanding a sheer cliff, it was visible for miles. One instinctively looked up to it. In another sense, when seeking refuge from trouble, we are guided to our "refuge from the storm" by looking up to God. This is done by turning our thoughts toward Him. Through God we withstand the sieges of evil and illness, even more surely than that redoubtable old castle withstood enemy attacks so long ago. Christian Science can help you understand God intimately.
The Bible says God made each of us in His own image and likeness. This view of yourself and other people-this true, spiritual view-is liberating, and it has the effect of healing body and heart. As we see ourselves this way, we step out of cramped, shuttered cloisters of thought into freedom.
We hear the Word of God most clearly when we forsake old habits of thought and take in new, spiritual views. Often this "stepping out" comes through seeking an understanding of God in the Bible. And Science and Health with Key to the Scriptures, written by Mary Baker Eddy, who loved and studied the Bible, can help you to understand the healing power of God-to find refuge in Him when you're in trouble. It says this: "Trials are proofs of God's care. Spiritual development germinates not from seed sown in the soil of material hopes, but when these decay, Love propagates anew the higher joys of Spirit, which have no taint of earth. Each successive stage of experience unfolds new views of divine goodness and love" (p. 66).
God does not send suffering, but heals it. Christ Jesus conquered sickness, sin, and death through his understanding of the power of God. And this same understanding heals today. Let me share an example with you.
Our daughter of three fell down and injured an arm. She was in pain and could not raise her arm at all. My wife was at home alone with her and began to pray. She prayed with an understanding trust that God cares for His children and casts out suffering. God is All-in-all, and there is nothing outside Him. He is good. Injury, pain, and fear are not to be ignored, but destroyed through proof of this truth. My wife called a Christian Science practitioner to join in prayer for the child. She had a sling put on the arm, but no medicines were given.
As my wife and I both continued to pray, seeking new views of God and His care for our daughter, we saw more clearly the totality of God as infinite Love. We felt the glory of God, who is not a wrathful judge but a loving Father. The results were wonderful. Our daughter had wanted to ride her tricycle. At first she couldn't use her arm, but all at once she lifted it and grasped the handlebars with complete freedom. She also pedaled the tricycle, something she had never done before. This indicated to us that progress always accompanies spiritual healing. The healing was complete, and it remained so. And we gained more confidence to turn to God in the care of little children.