In the ongoing crusade to ensure greater security, the next generation of screening devices is now showing up at larger international airports around the nation. And these machines are scoring some early successes. X-ray machines that perform a low-level scan of a person's entire body - not just carry-on luggage - are capable of detecting knives, guns, and certain explosives.
Still, experts concur that technology is no panacea in ending terrorist threats.
Security systems weren't in place in biblical times, but there was an effective method of protection on which to rely. And it's one we can turn to today. You may have read how the prophet Elisha discerned upcoming enemy attacks and was able to warn his king (see II Kings, chap. 6). Again and again invading troops tried to ambush Israel's troops, and each time Elisha foresaw the attack and warned the king.
Finally, the invading army sent forces to surround the mountains encircling Elisha and his servant. The servant was overwhelmed by the sight of the enemy, but "Elisha prayed, and said, Lord, I pray thee, open his eyes, that he may see. And the Lord opened the eyes of the young man; and he saw: and, behold, the mountain was full of horses and chariots of fire round about Elisha." Elisha then led the enemy troops into captivity and had them returned to their homeland. His more spiritual vision of God's power in the face of danger shut the door on the attack and left everyone - even his enemies - safe and unharmed.
Modern-day Elishas aren't likely to patrol airport checkpoints. Nor is that what we're advocating, even if a brigade of such spiritual seers could be found. But Elisha's experience points to spiritual resources, outside the scope of technology, that can enhance the safety of air travel today.
The whole story of Elisha underscores his keen faith in the Almighty. He had seen God multiply a widow's pot of oil, heal a leper, cause an iron ax head to float, and neutralize poison in a pot of food. He knew this same God could uncover and undo a hidden threat.
The God-centered thought of the individual has a protecting impact beyond human optimism. So, one spiritual step we can take is to make a vigorous acknowledgment that God is present and that His wisdom can be trusted to reveal whatever needs to be seen. In the face of this persistent acknowledgment, doubts begin to yield. Conviction begins to build in thought.
Mind is a term that describes who God is. Knowing is a term that describes what God does. God, divine Mind, the Mind which was also in Christ, knows His/Her own creation as seamlessly good, filled with offspring who possess benign intent alone. Divine Mind knows Her children as without evil, without hate, without mindless recklessness. And because God knows this, He sees it.
As we let our own thought rest on God's presence and power, we fixate less on a possible unseen threat. We focus more on the pure goodness of God's creation - on what He already knows and beholds. This spiritual vision is the very opposite of burying your head in the sand. In fact, by focusing on this God's-eye view of creation - one devoid of any evil, hidden or obvious - we also see, and our prayer helps others see, potential dangers. Anything foreign stands out like a dark splotch on a white field, an obvious error demanding removal. In other words, the threat shows itself, and can be addressed and removed.
The founder of the Monitor, Mary Baker Eddy, spoke of the good influence one individual allied to God's power can have: "There is no door through which evil can enter, and no space for evil to fill in a mind filled with goodness. Good thoughts are an impervious armor; clad therewith you are completely shielded from the attacks of error of every sort. And not only yourselves are safe, but all whom your thoughts rest upon are thereby benefited" ("The First Church of Christ, Scientist, and Miscellany," pg. 210).
Can any hide himself in
secret places that I shall not
see him? saith the Lord.
(c) Copyright 2000. The Christian Science Publishing Society