In response to accidents

Bringing a spiritual perspective to daily life

Whether it's a minor mishap in the kitchen or a major pileup on the freeway - an incident known only to you, or the lead story on the evening news - something is always true: turning in prayer to the Almighty brings comfort and assurance, as well as healing. It reminds us we're not alone in any emergency. Knowing that God is everywhere makes it clearer to us that divine help is instantly at hand, even if human help is delayed in coming.

One of the first things the awareness of God's presence does is to quiet our fears. It's not uncommon in an accident to be flooded with thoughts such as "What'll happen now?" "Will things get worse if help isn't swift in coming?" "Where will help come from?" But remembering that God is living, loving, and intelligent calms those concerns. Powerful help, divine help, is already available and always available. Fears start to abate when we stick to this. God becomes more vivid than anxiety or pain.

Actually, what we think may be much more central to our welfare than we've assumed. The Psalmist suggests as much: "When I said, My foot slippeth; thy mercy, O Lord, held me up. In the multitude of my thoughts within me thy comforts delight my soul" (Ps. 94:18, 19). Could this imply that our fears about slipping are what need to be countered at least as much as, if not more than, the slip itself?

Really, once the fear of accidents has been challenged with a spiritual awareness that God's unwavering power controls every detail of our experience, the impact of an accident begins to diminish at once.

A God who is all-powerful isn't confined by accidents. His power isn't displaced by physics or physical events. In other words, when the thought of a slipping foot is replaced by an understanding that God's sons and daughters are always safely grounded in God's love, in God's universe - we're protected! This is the replacement of a physical assumption with a metaphysical awareness. It is a kind of prayer. It can occur anytime and be beneficial - before, during, or after an accident.

In "Science and Health with Key to the Scriptures," Mary Baker Eddy wrote: "When an accident happens, you think or exclaim, 'I am hurt!' Your thought is more powerful than your words, more powerful than the accident itself, to make the injury real.

"Now reverse the process. Declare that you are not hurt and understand the reason why, and you will find the ensuing good effects to be in exact proportion to your disbelief in physics, and your fidelity to divine metaphysics, confidence in God as All, which the Scriptures declare Him to be" (pg. 397).

The Scriptures record a healing of the effects of an accident. It happened when the Apostle Paul was preaching into the night to a group of listeners. We don't know exactly what he spoke about; undoubtedly it centered on the message of Jesus. At any rate, a young man named Eutychus fell asleep up in a high loft and fell to the ground floor, where he lay apparently lifeless. Paul broke off the sermon, went down to embrace Eutychus, and then addressed the surrounding crowd: "Trouble not yourselves; for his life is in him" (Acts 20:10).

It seems unlikely that Paul's comments were merely a diagnosis of the young man's physical condition. Something more profound, more spiritually transforming, was at work. Paul was silencing fear with prayer. He was assuring those who were gathered, by looking beyond the scene of a tragic accident to metaphysical truth. The message from God to each one of us is that we are always in God's care. And once we are assured by this message, the ill effects of any accident will begin to fade. The protecting, saving power of the God who is pure Spirit will become more real than the apparent dangers coming from the notion that life is at the mercy of any physical happening. In Eutychus's case, he was restored to life and health.

Why not pray now? Prayer has preventive as well as curative effects. After all, the accident that didn't happen is the best of all. And your action may forward this good effect.

You can read in-depth articles about God's power in a monthly magazine, The Christian Science Journal.

(c) Copyright 2000. The Christian Science Publishing Society

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