The news has been filled these days with reports of tornadoes, flooding, and extreme weather conditions. As I’ve been praying about these situations, I’m reminded of a wonderful proof of God’s protection and care that my family had when a storm threatened earlier this year.
I was visiting my daughter and her family where they live on a small island in the South Pacific. I was there to support the arrival of their second child and to enjoy being with the family. It was the very hot cyclone season – the term used in that part of the world for a hurricane.
They live on the bay and are involved in the boating business, including looking after boats and yachts. During the pending arrival of the new baby, a level-four (very strong and destructive) cyclone was coming. It looked as though the arrival of the baby and the cyclone were going to coincide.
The storm was already so strong that we couldn’t get to the hospital safely, and the hospital wasn’t as prepared for the storm as our home was with its storm shutters. Our son-in-law was needed to manage a large schooner that was his responsibility. This left me with my daughter, her son, a woman who helps in the home – and a baby about to arrive. It appeared that the baby would be coming soon. My daughter asked if I would be able to deliver the baby because it wouldn’t be safe to leave the home during the storm. Of course I said yes, and then excused myself to go and pray.
I was fearful because I’d never delivered a baby and I felt anxious about taking the responsibility for my daughter and her unborn child.
But I had been praying for months in preparation for the arrival of this baby, knowing that this dear child belonged to God eternally and would be welcomed with joy and safety by all of us. And those prayers, like ministering angels, hovered around me during my struggle with fear.
One idea that came to me was to e-mail a baby nurse who was very helpful with directions on how to deliver a child. I also e-mailed some friends, telling them of the circumstances, and a Christian Science practitioner, asking her to join me in my prayers, which she did.
The waves were getting bigger and the sky darker. The story of Christ Jesus and the disciples in the storm was very helpful. During a raging storm, the disciples were terrified that their boat would sink, while Jesus was in the back of the boat asleep. The disciples woke Jesus, and he “rebuked the wind and the raging of the water: and they ceased.” Then Jesus asked the disciples about their faith.
As I pondered this story, the thought came that Jesus was asleep and not afraid because he did not experience the storm. His conviction of God as All meant he could experience only the settled peace of God’s complete control of His creation.
Then it occurred to me that having faith was acknowledging “Christly peace.” I was in touch with my friends who were praying too, and they were sharing similar inspirations about peace. Gradually we all became more interested in this Christly peace than in the storm. I also began to feel a tangible assurance that my daughter and the soon-to-be-arriving baby were cared for, too.
What happened then was wonderful. The cyclone took an alternative course and went around our island and other islands as well. There was no damage anywhere in the area. Soon my son-in-law was able to come home. And that peaceful evening my daughter, son-in-law, and I were able to go to the small local hospital, and very soon my beautiful baby grandson was born. He was and is just perfect. The local villagers in this small modest hospital welcomed him with much joy, as did we.
So, as I join with people back here in the United States during this record-breaking spring storm season, I am cherishing again the thought of Christly peace. We can all experience something of the peace that Jesus lived with, and it will enable us to experience safety from storms. A line from a poem by the woman who founded the Monitor, Mary Baker Eddy, reads:
And o’er earth’s troubled, angry sea
I see Christ walk,
And come to me, and tenderly,
(“Christian Science Hymnal,” No. 253).
We can feel this Christly peace deeply, and it will keep us safe in God’s love.
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