After two days in Paris, my new home, a new friend who was well acquainted with the city invited me out for dinner.
When I got home that evening, my host family was concerned, not only about the neighborhood I'd been in, but about what I'd ordered for dinner. Escargot (snails). They should be ordered only in the finest restaurants, they told me, because they can easily be spoiled. I went to bed unsettled, and as the night went on, I became increasingly unwell.
Prayer has always been an effective way for me to face down problems of any kind, so in my need during those early morning hours, I turned to God for help. I recognized the No. 1 culprit to be fear.
I questioned whether my sense of adventure was simply naive and unwise. Suddenly my new home and its promise felt frightening, unknown, and even unkind.
I prayed to accept that God was in this place. Though it seemed new to me, it was God's territory; He had always been there. I prayed to understand that the goodness of God was everywhere and that I was not on my own, but ever guided and guarded by a constant companioning Shepherd. Mary Baker Eddy, who established this newspaper, wrote, "He fills all space...," and I leaned hard on that statement ("Science and Health with Key to the Scriptures," p. 331). I saw it as a law of His supreme, all-enfolding government.
When Elisha, one of the biblical prophets, found himself in a situation where he needed to provide sustenance for a large group, but had very limited resources, he decided to make soup from whatever he and his friends could find in the vicinity. They gathered herbs and gourds, just the sorts of things that make a good soup, but when he served it up, they felt right away something was wrong. They called out, "There is death in the pot."
Elisha, often called "the man of God," was practiced in taking what appeared to be detrimental situations and altering them through what he knew to be true about the nature of God.
Elisha proved his understanding that life is actually spiritual. In this case, rather than complying with convention, beliefs, and throwing out the soup as contaminated and harmful, he added to the soup. He added meal, and everyone ate it without harm (II Kings 4:38-41).
I've asked myself about this story, What was Elisha doing? It seems to me that he was doing more than adjusting ingredients. Might he have known, as a spiritual seer, that fear was the most harmful ingredient? The men noted that the soup contained ingredients that they did not recognize – that were foreign to them.
I could feel safe in the fact that God was always caring for me, and that my need was not to be rid of anything, but to allow divine Love to neutralize the fear, replacing it with trust in God's care. I could take in God's assuring love and let go of anxiousness for my safety. A few hours into the day, I felt well again and able to carry on with my normal day, including eating freely.
Christ Jesus instructed that it is not what goes into the mouth that is harmful, but what comes out, which is consistent with his instruction in the Sermon on the Mount: "Take no thought for your life, what ye shall eat, or what ye shall drink...," emphasizing the safety that comes from trusting God for our well being (Matt. 15:11; 6:25).
If food scares and reports of contamination are broadcast, we have something to add to the pot, so to speak. We can bring to the mental environment prayer, which removes fear. We can affirm the utter and complete goodness of God and the potency of His wholesome love. The Bible states, "O taste and see that the Lord is good: blessed is the man that trusteth in him" (Ps. 34:8).