Whenever I hear or read of someone who has been deemed missing, my heart goes out to all involved. Thinking about this takes me back a number of years to an afternoon spent in quiet prayer. As I was reflecting on God’s tender love for each of His children, I felt impelled to look up a particular passage in a biography about Mary Baker Eddy, the Discoverer and Founder of Christian Science. In it, the author provides a synopsis of a statement Mrs. Eddy made to a classroom of students of Christian Science on a particular day. It is recorded as follows:
“Love is the Father, who is strong in His care for His children and provides for every need. Love feeds, clothes, and shelters every one of His dear ones. Love is a Mother tenderly brooding over all Her children. This Mother guards each one from harm, nourishes, holds close to Herself, and carefully leads along the upward way. Love is a Shepherd who goes forth into the darkness of the night, into the storm and wind, to find the lost sheep. This Shepherd of Love leaves the beaten path, searches the wood and marsh, pushes aside the brambles, and seeks until the lost is found; then He places it within His bosom and returns to heal and restore” (Irving C. Tomlinson, “Twelve Years with Mary Baker Eddy, Amplified Edition,” pp. 103-104).
Thinking deeply about these words filled me with a tangible sense of peace and gratitude for the details of how God cherishes and looks after everyone. Unbeknown to me, it was also preparing me for a phone call I would receive a few minutes later. Someone rang to ask me to pray. The individual was distraught because a toddler with whom he was acquainted had been missing for several days. The boy’s father had not brought him back to a previously arranged meeting spot to return him to his mother after their first planned custody visit. It appeared that the father had taken off with the child, and official search alerts were issued across the continent to find them. The person who called me wanted to help in the most supportive way he could think of, and that was to turn to God. I began praying with him immediately.
Because I had prepared my thought with the spiritual understanding that God – the Father, Mother, and Shepherd – is ever present and in control of His creation, I was able to remain calm. Instead of imagining various scenarios, I picked up my prayer right where I’d left off before the phone rang. I knew with absolute confidence and conviction that this gentleman could be assured that God was with this child as well as with his father, and as the one Mind, God would make their whereabouts known and quickly correct the picture.
My duty was to maintain my trust in God, just as Christ Jesus instructed his disciples to do when he said, “If ye have faith as a grain of mustard seed, ye shall say unto this mountain, Remove hence to yonder place; and it shall remove; and nothing shall be impossible unto you” (Matthew 17:20). That’s how I spent the next several hours. Then came the happy call. The boy and his father were found safe and sound in another country 2,600 miles away. The child was taken into protective custody until his mother arrived as soon as possible to bring him home.
This remains a very special experience; it continues to remind me that even in the most desperate circumstances, we all can turn to God, divine Love, for immediate answers.