Years ago, I saw a scene in a TV cartoon that stuck with me. It began with a man walking out of his house and toward the nearby woods, whistling a happy tune. His peaceful morning was soon interrupted by an ambush of enemy archers launching fire-tipped arrows at him. The quick-thinking fellow turned to a nearby bush, where he happened to have previously hidden a sturdy shield, just in case he should encounter such a scenario at that very spot. He heaved it up and crouched behind it. In this way he was protected from the onslaught and lived to experience many more adventures.
The fortuitousness of this unlikely survivor’s means of salvation seemed beyond credibility even to my 8-year-old imagination. I remember thinking how grateful I was for what I had been learning in the Christian Science Sunday School I attended about our real-life, ever-present, reliable protector: God.
The Bible tells us over and over that God protects us invariably. For instance, “I will say of the Lord, He is my refuge and my fortress: my God; in him will I trust. Surely he shall deliver thee from the snare of the fowler ... his truth shall be thy shield and buckler” (Psalms 91:2-4), and “He is a shield unto them that put their trust in him” (Proverbs 30:5). And God is present everywhere, not just in a specific spot where we may or may not need protection.
This assurance stems from the very nature of God and our relationship to Him. God is good (see Psalms 100:5), and He made us in our true identity, spiritual and good, to glorify Him, divine Spirit (see Isaiah 43:7). Our wholeness and harmony aren’t vulnerable and can’t be taken away because they define what we are as God’s creation. We are eternally safe because God is All, embracing and loving His spiritual children infinitely. This is the spiritual reality Christ Jesus proved throughout his ministry, and that we can understand more and more through heartfelt prayer.
Mary Baker Eddy, who discovered and founded Christian Science, writes, “prayer, coupled with a fervent habitual desire to know and do the will of God, will bring us into all Truth” (“Science and Health with Key to the Scriptures,” p. 11). This opens the door to feeling and seeing evidence of God’s protection in our lives. Diligent prayer affirming God’s loving care for His creation cultivates our receptivity to inspiration and intuitions that help us feel and be safe.
One afternoon a few weeks ago, I was walking my miniature dachshund, Milo, around the neighborhood. Just that morning I had started my day by praying with some of these ideas about God’s unfailing care for us, and as the dog and I meandered along, I was thinking about how grateful I was for God’s unending love.
We had just turned the corner around a building when the thought suddenly came to me to quickly move off the sidewalk and onto the grass. There wasn’t any obvious reason to do this, but I followed the intuition, leading Milo along, too. Seconds later, a child sped by on a bicycle, right down the sidewalk where we had just been walking. Because the building blocked the view around the corner, neither the child nor I had seen each other; and had Milo and I still been on the sidewalk, we would have been right in the bike’s path, with no time for any of us to get out of the way.
I was so thankful! While this may not have been a life-and-death situation, I felt such a comforting sense that God truly does love and care for each of us – and that even a glimpse of this spiritual fact can bless ourselves and others.
We don’t need to helplessly hope we’ve left our shield in the right place to access it when the time comes. God is holding every one of His spiritual children in His infinite protecting embrace, shielding us from harm, right here, right now. When we look around, it may not seem like such a presence truly exists. But I’ve come to trust that a consciousness of God’s reality, a turning to Him with an open heart, can help bring a tangible sense of safety.