Who of us has not had to face fears? Many of us, at one time or another, have struggled with such fears as being forgotten, not being heard, being misunderstood, or even being physically harmed. There was the time I found myself far away from home in a hostile environment on a college campus where my skin color was different from that of those around me. I quickly realized I was not welcomed by many people on campus. That was frightening.
Where can struggling hearts find comfort?
The Bible has a consistently running theme of God’s love and care for us coming to light in fear-inducing situations. Led by Moses, the children of Israel – after fleeing from a country that had enslaved them – found themselves trapped by the Red Sea in front and the Pharaoh’s encroaching army behind them. And though it may have seemed like a lot to ask in this situation, Moses urged them to trust God; he said, “Fear ye not, stand still, and see the salvation of the Lord, which he will shew to you to-day” (Exodus 14:13). And the children of Israel saw that turning away from fear to God brought reliable help. The sea parted so they could pass through it, and it closed up before Pharaoh’s army reached it. God protected them.
It’s been said that fear is the belief in evil and the expectation of it. Through my study of Christian Science in pursuit of understanding God better, I have been grateful to learn a great deal about how to handle fear and the aggressive thoughts suggesting evil is imminent. This has brought me comfort and help many times in my life. Mary Baker Eddy, the discoverer of Christian Science, encourages in “Science and Health with Key to the Scriptures,” “We should master fear, instead of cultivating it” (p. 197).
I’ve come to see that beginning to master fear starts with an understanding of what God, divine Love, is, and is followed by an understanding of what we are as God’s loved spiritual children (see Genesis 1:26, 27). God is infinite Mind, and knows a universe created as totally good (see Genesis 1:31). God is not afraid, as there is no power besides divine power. As God’s child, or offspring, each of us reflects that fearless Mind.
Affirming these ideas is not just asking God for strength to be unafraid. It involves growing in the understanding that we inherently have dominion over fear. Because there is no evil or fear in God, there is no place for it in His kingdom and no power that can enforce or perpetuate it in our thinking. These spiritual truths lift us out of the belief that we are vulnerable mortals subject to harm or neglect. As divine Love’s spiritual ideas, we are eternal and indestructible. We are the children of the divine Love that is providing all good for us, of the divine Principle that is maintaining order and sustaining harmony and justice in His kingdom.
These spiritual facts have God’s omnipotent power undergirding them. I’ve found that even in frightening situations, they bring comfort and peace. The Bible assures us that “perfect love casteth out fear” (I John 4:18), and Mrs. Eddy shows us the way divine Love works by explaining, “Love is impartial and universal in its adaptation and bestowals” (Science and Health, p. 13). All of us can turn to our Father-Mother God at any moment and receive His Christly message of great good for each of us.
When I found myself in that frightening situation at college, I prayed to better understand these ideas. As I did, I felt a deeper sense of God’s universal love and all-embracing presence dispelling my fear. Furthermore, tensions passed, and friendships were formed. Fear did not rule the day then, and it need not rule today. Step by step, through spiritual understanding and prayer, we can come to see that God’s perfect love can and does cast out fear!