For centuries the ninety-first Psalm has brought help and healing to so many. It begins, "He that dwelleth in the secret place of the most High shall abide under the shadow of the Almighty." The spiritual truths conveyed here bring the light of inspiration and understanding to human experience. When spiritual truth is pondered, it places us under the shadow (shelter, covering) of God. We are better able to feel God's presence and to know His power. The textbook of Christian Science by Mary Baker Eddy describes the Almighty as "All-power; infinity; omnipotence" (Science and Health with Key to the Scriptures, p. 581).
"Under the shadow of the Almighty" can mean "in the presence of God." God is always surrounding you. In His presence all good is yours. Understanding this enables you to be at peace, whatever your present circumstances. This is not a haphazard approach; it is prayer in action. When we unreservedly put our trust in God instead of in material supports, we find that help and solutions to problems are always at hand. What we perceive in thought must have expression in our lives.
In critical and alarming situations, God guides us from fear to hope, from doubt and desperation to faith and courage. The true nature of each of us is spiritual. We are ever one with our creator. It is by discerning the nature of God and His creation as spiritual and good that we can pray with confidence and expect happy results to follow. Even when circumstances are their darkest, we can look to God.
This was certainly true of one man, Lieut. C. H. Lightoller, R.N.R. He was Second Officer of the Titanic the night it sank. Lieutenant Lightoller was a Christian Scientist, and a testimony of his experience appeared in The Christian Science Journal (October 1912, pp. 414-415). Working tirelessly to get passengers into lifeboats, Lightoller was one of the last to enter the water as the Titanic was going down. After he encountered the bitter cold of the North Atlantic, these words from Psalm 91, he wrote, "came to me so distinctly that I seemed to realize their full import: 'He shall give his angels charge over thee' " (verse 11). He never doubted that it was possible for him to survive. He trusted the ability of divine power to save him.
He was plunged underwater several times. The suction of the sinking ship was a great threat. But at a crucial point the forward funnel came crashing down, catapulting him some twenty feet away from the ship. This prevented him from being pulled down. He was among about thirty survivors who floated the remainder of the night on an upturned lifeboat; they were later picked up by the Carpathia. Lightoller experienced no reaction to or aftereffects from his immersion in the frigid water, although they were predicted.
There is no limit to God's love and power to save in all eventualities, including times of illness. When Jesus Christ spoke to the sick and suffering, he calmed their fears. "Be not afraid" and "be of good cheer," he said more than once. Jesus had supreme confidence in the power of God to save and heal. He knew with the greatest certainty that God is ever present, that no one can be anyplace, anytime, anywhere, where God is not all-powerful.
You can be so certain, so sure, of the spiritual fact of God's existence that nothing makes you afraid. Jesus set an example of fearlessness that is possible to follow. Nothing could make him doubt God's presence. One night, when his disciples were caught in a frightening storm on the Sea of Galilee, the Bible says, Jesus came to them walking on the water, saying, "Be of good cheer: it is I; be not afraid." And then, when he got into the ship with them, the wind stopped and all was calm (see Mark 6:47-51).
I often say to myself, "The kingdom of God within me is all peace." That's one way I have of identifying myself with God. It's another way of saying that I'm "under the shadow of the Almighty." Not under the dark shade of fear, but in the care of divine Love.