Driving under the 'influence'

Bringing a spiritual perspective to daily life

For years, visiting my mother involved a six-hour drive through rugged countryside. Many accidents were caused on that road by people driving under the influence of alcohol.

Every time I would set out from my mother's place to return home, she would slip a packet of egg salad sandwiches into my hand and whisper reassuringly:

"Now remember, you're on the King's highway, and all the lights are green." The "King's highway" was her adaptation of the "highway for our God" mentioned in the 40th chapter of Isaiah.

That was my mother's way of reminding me that the only influence under which any of us should be driving is God's protecting influence.

The United States National Highway Traffic Safety Administration estimates that in 1998 alcohol was a contributing factor in 39 percent of fatal crashes. The highest intoxication rates recorded in those crashes were for drivers who were between 21 and 24 years of age.

How wonderful it would be for more drivers at any age to become aware of influences that would not only protect them and other drivers on the road, but enrich other aspects of their lives, too. These influences are not just hypothetical.

Driving provides a wonderful opportunity for prayers - especially prayers of gratitude. Without taking your eyes off the road, it's possible to give thanks for the beauty of cornfields, mountains, cities, lakes, and parks. It's a good time for finding constructive solutions to daily problems and for finding evidence of God's gifts to all His children. Driving is an ideal time for opening your thought to the influences that protect life.

There's a lot to be learned from Christ Jesus. We know that he didn't drive, but walked, the dusty roads of Judea. And yet he encountered more than his share of road rage, impatience, self-righteousness, and intolerance.

Jesus could not have survived if he had believed in a power or influence greater than God. Wherever he went, whatever condition confronted him, he was always ready to prove that the good control of God is supreme.

Most important, he was not deceived by appearances. He didn't concede power to danger, anger, accident, carelessness. A reading of the Bible shows that to Jesus, the omnipotence of God was a reality. He saw the divine presence as the only real influence. He showed that the transformations in human circumstances brought about by this knowledge of God can be instantaneous. This divine influence was always in his consciousness - it represented an understanding of the truth that is able both to protect and to give aid.

We can have the same influence by consistently thinking healing thoughts - especially on the highway. And we bring into our experience whatever we spiritually perceive.

If there are times when God doesn't seem to be in control of other drivers, we can resolve not to lose sight of the actual order of existence. A supreme power has created us all. Mary Baker Eddy, who founded Christian Science, wrote about this higher, spiritual order: "In Science, all being is eternal, spiritual, perfect, harmonious in every action. Let the perfect model be present in your thoughts instead of its demoralized opposite" ("Science and Health with Key to the Scriptures," pg. 407).

How many miles do we drive in the company of that "demoralized opposite"? Sometimes it isn't sitting in an adjacent car, but is a passenger in our own thoughts. This is obviously the wrong influence under which to drive. But we all have a choice. We can ride along with aggression or fear, or we can exercise the divine power and influence of the pure, exalted thinking that God inspires in us.

God is abundantly supplying the strength, love, perseverance, and understanding needed to respond to what a given situation requires. An early prophet wrote,"What doth the Lord require of thee, but to do justly, and to love mercy, and to walk humbly with thy God?" (Micah 6:8).

That could just as well read drive humbly! When we do that, we can't help but promote safety on all the highways of life.

(c) Copyright 1999. The Christian Science Publishing Society

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