A world shaken seeks calm

A Christian Science perspective on daily life.

A theme is emerging in this present climate of ailing economics: The even keel needed to respond to the current situation has slipped from the grasp of many people and has given way to fear and panic. A world shaken seeks calm. It was heartening to see the use of the word appears in the title of a recent New York Times article: "Forget Logic; Fear Appears to Have Edge" (The New York Times, Oct. 8).

The article explained that despite hopeful signs in the overall financial landscape, some are choosing to ignore these signals and are collectively jumping ship. The article states, "Fear is an immensely powerful force…." It is described as a purely motivational function of the human brain. On the contrary, Jesus implied that fear is not something that just happens to us, but is escapable through disciplining thought to reject it. He declared, "Let not your heart be troubled, neither let it be afraid" (John 14:27).

A humble and wise woman exercised such dominion over panic when put to the test. She understood that she was not steered by a little mind contained in a material body, but by the divine and infinite Mind, called God. She was so confident in this Mind's guidance, that when an acquaintance – a man of impeccable integrity and spirituality – advised her to leave her house and relocate her home far away in order to ride out a time of mass deprivation, she unquestioningly complied.

Even though the blight was not evident to her at the time, she trusted the foresight of his spiritual-mindedness. Rather than participate in a crisis of confidence, she invested in the protective and restorative power of God, divine Love, she'd seen proven. After all, her friend had resurrected her son from his deathbed. Her friend was the prophet Elisha, and she is identified in the Bible as the Shunammite woman (II Kings 4:32–34).

After exile of seven years, she went before the king to request her property be returned. She, as a widow, had very few rights, but the king, a man who was at that very moment asking about the remarkable things Elisha was accomplishing, had just heard about the raising of the Shunnamite's son from death. Astonished at what he'd heard of Elisha's divine abilities, the king not only gave her the land back but also gave her all the profits her land had yielded during her absence (II Kings 8:1–6). The laws of God that had revived her son had restored her life and home.

In this case, fear did not have the edge; the very opposite of fear had complete power to overthrow all the odds stacked against this woman. The Bible explains the opposite, or the remedy for fear in this statement: "Perfect love casteth out fear" (I John 4:18). Confidence in, or love for, the enduring, supporting laws of God brought about an outcome that blessed the woman and her entire household. It even blessed the present form of government, characterized by the king.

Trusting the power that heals a diseased body or retrieves an individual from imbalances such as greed and fear restores and revives the larger body of thought, called civilization, from beliefs of fragility and mass ailments, seen in the landscape called the economy.

Fear is not a power any more than darkness is. It's simply the anticipated absence of good. In the place of good it projects evil and assumes the withdrawal of order and harmony, which are the direct results of the presence of God, called the Christ. The Divine does not deviate, wane, collapse, or withdraw what He causes. Balance, the law of adjustment, equity, strength, and stability are brought on by the Christ, which precludes fragility, volatility, opposition, or randomness.

Widespread fear is conquered in the same way that individual fears are overcome. An unwillingness to succumb to fear and a simultaneous acceptance of the ever-present, active good, always at the helm, forever governing and controlling every aspect of the universe, bring calm and order.

Mary Baker Eddy once referred to the effect of the Christ as bringing "a deep-settled calm" ("Message to The Mother Church for 1902," p. 19). This same calm is present today, right now, in every corner of this beautiful globe as a governing, steady presence.

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