FBI Director Robert Mueller, during a talk he gave earlier this week, was asked about the possibility of suicide bombing attacks in the United States similar to the kind that have occurred in Israel in recent months.
He replied, "I think we will see that in the future; I think it's inevitable." Additionally, he said, "There will be another terrorist attack. We will not be able to stop it. It's something we all live with." And, almost plaintively, he added, "I wish I could be more optimistic" (Los Angeles Times, May 21).
Straight talk like that sure doesn't offer any false comfort or assurance. Clearly, Director Mueller had no intention of offering it. Does such talk speed us, and law enforcement authorities, to take additional antiterrorist measures? That's obviously a need. Or does it paralyze us with fear? That's plainly a hindrance. Or here's a third possibility could it stir us to rethink what's really inevitable? And could that rethinking, if it's approached from a spiritual angle, both underpin the best antiterrorist efforts and undercut the paralyzing effects of fear?
After reading Mueller's statements in the morning paper, I turned to my Bible and, almost at random, came across a number of meaningful passages. Here's one from Psalms: "Thou, Lord, only makest me dwell in safety (4:8). Was that inevitable? Could I see the spiritual assurance of that Bible promise as unshakable, irrefutably true? I could. With every glimpse of God's nature and presence as the real and decisive fact in any circumstance, I could begin to feel a genuine assurance, a deep-settled calm coming from the Divine. And that spiritual truth, held to, inevitably would act as an underpinning to law enforcement efforts to enhance safety as well as our own efforts to reduce fear.
Here's just one more passage I came across the same morning. "Thou shalt be far from oppression; for thou shalt not fear: and from terror; for it shall not come near thee" (Isa. 54:14). Again I asked, Was this inevitable? Intuitively, I knew it was. But as with all truths from the Bible, I knew it wasn't enough to mentally say, That's in the Good Book. Case closed. It's inevitable. I knew we each have a crucial role to play in terms of the prayer we make and the stance we take and the life we live. It's a case of being so vividly aware of God's love and protective power that the terror of an unseen danger simply can't shatter His divinely enforced security. Then the best safety-enhancing measures get enacted more swiftly, insightfully, and the paralyzing grip of fear lessens its hold.
And that deep-settled calm begins to characterize more of our outlook. Not because we're grasping at false hopes, but because we're glimpsing our Father's authority as real and present and powerful.
Monitor founder Mary Baker Eddy saw both what inevitably isn't and is true. She once wrote in a message to her followers, "Our heavenly Father never destined mortals who seek for a better country to wander on the shores of time disappointed travellers, tossed to and fro by adverse circumstances, inevitably subject to sin, disease, and death." And farther along in the same message, she added, "O glorious hope! there remaineth a rest for the righteous, a rest in Christ, a peace in Love. The thought of it stills complaint; the heaving surf of life's troubled sea foams itself away, and underneath is a deep-settled calm" ("Message to The Mother Church for 1902," pgs. 11, 19).
Because of God's love for us and our expressing that love for one another it is inevitable we'll get beneath the alarming threats, the "heaving surf" that seems so tumultuous, and reach a deep-settled calm that's inevitable. But our consistent acknowledgment of God's nature and presence and our expression of His love will help us get there more swiftly. The Bible promises of safety and assurance realized in prayer always help buttress our best efforts for safety and for a life with less fear.