Recent flooding in several Midwestern states reminded me of a time my family and I were vacationing in south Texas during a time of heavy rain and flooding a few years ago.
We had rented a condo for a few days right on the Comal River, thinking the weather would clear up. The first night, however, it rained so much that our view from the balcony changed dramatically. At first we were able to see the dock across the river. By 4 a.m. the dock was gone, and the waters were up to the first floor of the condo. My husband and I had spent the night awake so we could pray and also watch the news.
At 6 a.m. we called the front office about checking out early. Their response told us everything: "You're still here!" With that we packed the kids, threw everything into the car, and headed out of town on the only open bridge crossing the river. The lines were long, and we were praying not only for our safety but the safety of everyone trying to leave the flood area.
One of the ideas that helped me a lot during that time was the definition of "ark" in "Science and Health with Key to the Scriptures." The author, Mary Baker Eddy, defines it, in part, as "safety" (p. 581). I loved that definition – particularly during the hours when we were running from the flood. The thought that we each were included in an "ark" of safety, being cared for as Noah had been when he and his family took animals into an ark during the flood described in the Bible, was really special to me.
As I prayed, I was able to assure myself and those around me that God's care for all His children was present and that we didn't need to be afraid. I was certain He would lead everyone to safety. We also discussed the goodness and power of God. It's evident that His love isn't seen in extreme weather conditions that are destructive.
Just as prayer helped my family – and all the other people trying to get across the Comal River that day – I feel that God's love is present for the people who are dealing with these latest destructive rains and their impact on people's homes and livelihoods.
One thing I find useful to keep in mind is that under God's government, weather and other natural conditions are a blessing, not an avenue for distress and loss. Nor are extreme conditions inevitable. Just as the prayers my family and I participated in while we were attempting to get out of the flood zone helped bring us to safety, so our prayers can help people behave wisely and can lead to wise decisions by government and other officials coping with such events.
In reality, our safety isn't based on an atmosphere that is separate from us and independent of God's control. Rather, the atmosphere within us – our thoughts, feelings, and motives – affects our experience. This is why my family strove for calm and peace in our mental atmosphere during the flood.
Such calm means we can allow God to govern our thoughts and lead us out of danger. Spiritually understanding that He protects and guides us every moment will do much to ease our fears. But of course we also need to be obedient to His divine leading. A proverb puts it this way: "The name of the Lord is a strong tower: the righteous runneth into it, and is safe" (Prov. 18:10).
Each of us truly lives "in the land in safety" (Lev. 25:18), under God's loving care. This spiritual state of thought helps us perceive that even in the midst of chaos – as when we were trying to cross the river – there can be peace and willingness to cooperate with one another. Nothing can actually enter our consciousness that is not good or does not come from God. When we understand this, we'll find that joy and trust take the place of fear, worry, and doubt.
Thou, Lord, only makest me dwell in safety. Psalms 4:8