It's helpful when news reports give fear-reducing perspectives.
For example, this newspaper's report of injuries due to atmospheric turbulence on a recent Continental Airlines flight from Rio de Janeiro to Houston included this statement: "Approximately 60 people a year get hurt due to turbulence-related incidents. The primary reason: They're not wearing their seat belts" ("Turbulence is leading cause of air flight injuries," Aug. 3). The article helped the reader see that the number of airplane passengers injured each year by turbulence is quite low in comparison to the millions of people in flight each year. And it gave them something they can do for their safety: wear seat belts.
This daily column – "A Christian Science Perspective" – goes even further in helping readers deal with their fears. It gives them insights into the divine Science, or laws of God, that empower them to improve their circumstances even in situations where they might otherwise feel helpless.
In recent years, I've been on a long series of airplane flights from city to city all across the United States and beyond. Every now and then, but not very often, there is some turbulence, usually mild and brief. I keep my seat belt fastened, but I also do something else – I pray. It's not a fear-based "God, please keep us safe" kind of prayer, but a calm and confident "Thank you, God, for your absolute and loving control of the universe and everyone in it" prayer.
On one occasion when there was some heavy turbulence that lasted for some time, my prayers kept me calm and confident throughout. When the plane landed safely with no injuries reported, I felt that my prayers had made a contribution to everyone's safety. Let me explain.
The Bible teaches that God is the Supreme Ruler of the entire universe, including man (everyone) – that God has all the power, that nothing has power over God, and that God's power is entirely good. Jesus proved that the divine Mind, or God, is always in a state of spiritual calm and that this spiritual calm rules turbulence completely out of the picture. When faced with a violent storm at sea, Jesus spoke directly to the storm, saying, "Peace, be still. And the wind ceased, and there was a great calm" (Mark 4:39).
In essence, Jesus told the storm, "Calm down; God is in charge here." Knowing that God is in charge – that the spiritual calm that pervades God's being also pervades His entire creation – gave Jesus the authority to rule turbulence out of his experience and out of the experience of those around him.
The Science of Christ is practical because it shows that the spiritual calm of the divine Mind is a present, provable fact. Whenever the human mind opens itself to the understanding of this fact and yields to the spiritual calm of the divine Mind, this spiritual calm displaces right then and there any form of mental and physical turbulence that claims to possess presence and power.
God is bigger than the universe and everything in it. And man, God's spiritual image and likeness, reflects God. Therefore, you and I and every other person possess and reflect the spiritual calm of God. Prayer that opens thought to God's all-power, and on that basis mentally rejects evidences of turbulence as powerless, takes away any sense of helplessness and brings the power of God to bear on the human circumstances to improve them.
No one likes to feel that they have no control over their own safety. And, in fact, this is never the case because we can control our thoughts, embrace the same spiritual calm that Jesus expressed in the storm. The Discoverer of Christian Science, Mary Baker Eddy, once wrote, "My faith in God and in His followers rests in the fact that He is infinite good, and that He gives His followers opportunity to use their hidden virtues, to put into practice the power which lies concealed in the calm and which storms awaken to vigor and to victory" ("The First Church of Christ, Scientist, and Miscellany," p. 204).
Anyone can begin to "put into practice the power which lies concealed in the calm" of God's absolute control, and displaces mental and physical turbulence with God-given peace and tranquility.