'Hearts alike' - a protection from terrorism
Bringing a spiritual perspective to daily life
We received word that a fundamentalist Islamic group intended to send a suicide bomber to blow up our building, preferably with us inside.
We decided to suspend operations for several days and to enhance significantly the physical security on our perimeter. Also, we reduced personnel to a core staff. This would ensure that essential business could be done, while allowing most employees to work from home. I was one of those told to come to work. "But don't worry," the security specialist said, "We'll move you out of the Kill Zone."
We were under terrific stress at that time. Many of us were afraid, even those who stayed home. Many reached out in prayer to God, each in his or her own way. I started to deal with my own fears by praying to understand better that God's all-inclusive power reached to all points. I prayed to see that I wasn't a victim, that it wasn't God's plan for any of us to suffer. I prayed to understand that I was included in God's love - the "Life Zone," not a "Kill Zone."
I thought about several Bible stories that illustrate God's protection, such as the impenetrable defense that Elisha's servant saw: "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's prayers enabled the servant to see divine protection, and his God-inspired leadership enabled him to solve a terrorist confrontation without loss of life (the full account is in II Kings, chapter 6). This story inspired me.
The words of the well-beloved 19th-century British hymnist James Montgomery also rang true: "What terror can confound me, with God at my right hand?" I knew that millions of people had found comfort in these words since Montgomery wrote them in 1822, and they were comforting me too, today. I also recognized that lots of people - my wife and family, some friends, and others - were praying right then for God's governance of this situation.
But I felt, somehow, that in building my own mental wall of prayer for protection, I was missing something crucial. On the morning that was supposedly designated for the attack on us, I kissed my wife goodbye, climbed into the armored car with my gas mask and briefcase, and went to work.
I had a Bible in that briefcase, and as soon as I got to my temporary office, I opened it. I found that something crucial in Psalms, where I read: "The Lord looketh from heaven; he beholdeth all the sons of men. From the place of his habitation he looketh upon all the inhabitants of the earth. He fashioneth their hearts alike ..." (Ps. 33:13-15). The last phrase was arresting. If all our hearts are made by God, Love, then our brotherhood is a fact established by God.
I had been praying to be protected from "bad guys out there." But if we live in God's creation, there really is no "out there." In the infinite presence of God, there's simply no room for an ambush or an attack, because there is no hiding place for evil.
Similarly, in God's creation there are no "bad guys." Because of God's all-seeing, all-including Love, in reality there can be no hearts opposed to one another. We all - Christians, Muslims, and others - are part of the harmonious divine creation. Evil is a lie about both the nature of God and the nature of the divine creation. Reasoning this way completely calmed my fears. I also noticed a lessening of tensions around me. There was happy camaraderie, and we began work.
We continued our vigilance, but there never was a hint of terrorist action. What stayed with me was the better idea I'd gained of God's all-inclusive environment, where there are no alienated, enraged, or embittered hearts.
In God's kingdom there are neither terrorists nor victims, because God has fashioned our "hearts alike."
Divine Love is our hope,
strength, and shield.
Mary Baker Eddy
(founder of the Monitor)