A Christian Science perspective: Stranded on a remote road, the author turns to God.

A number of years ago a friend and I decided to drive from our homes in South East England to Bombay (now Mumbai), India. Then we would continue by ship to Australia. Preparations took at least a year, but finally we set off in a ten-year-old rear-engined Volkswagen “Beetle.”

For a few weeks all went well until we arrived at a remote border crossing, where neither fuel nor currency exchange was available. An American traveler kindly changed a small amount of English money into the local currency, and with this we continued on our way.

Our progress, however, was slow. We had a problem with our car’s engine cutting out, which we believed was being caused by dust from the desert road being drawn into the rear-engine compartment. We had stopped repeatedly to clean the engine, but at sunset, when the car once again came to a halt after we covered only a few more miles, we decided to camp beside the road for the night. This was long before mobile phones, and we had no means of contacting anyone.

So with an immobilized car, insufficient fuel to reach the next town, and no means of communication, I began praying. Both my friend and I were students of Christian Science, and it felt natural for me to turn to God, whom I understood to be infinite Spirit, and therefore everywhere. God is also Love, and Love’s spiritual children (including you, me, and everyone) cannot be separated from God’s ever-presence. So while it appeared that we were alone in a desert, as I prayed to better understand God as infinite Love I felt confident that help would come, although I did not know how or from where.

Meanwhile we prepared a meal and wrote up our daily journal – and continued praying. I felt complete trust in God, infinite Love, the creator of us all. Divine Love does not allow any harm to come to its creation.

After some time the light of our camp lantern attracted the attention of a passing vehicle, which turned off the road and stopped. Four German students asked to camp nearby. We welcomed these young men, and over a meal we chatted and exchanged travel experiences.

The next morning we explained our situation and then saw that the students’ vehicle was a VW camper van whose engine was similar to that of our car. At their suggestion we swapped and tested engine parts to determine which, if any, of our parts weren’t functioning. During this process, the parts underwent some needed cleaning. When they were put back into place, our car’s engine finally sprang into life.

At that we all cheered, but we still needed fuel. That was no problem. The camper carried extra fuel in cans on its roof, and we bought a canful with the money changed by the Americans at the border. We were able to fill our tank with that canful. Now, with our car back on the road, we moved along, giving thanks to God all the way.

To this day I am in awe at this complete answer to our prayers. The VW camper was the only vehicle that had appeared from any direction over several hours.

Throughout the three-month trip of nearly 12,500 miles, we met with so much friendship and kindness, which reminded me of this statement by the founder of the Monitor: “One infinite God, good, unifies men and nations; constitutes the brotherhood of man; ends wars; fulfils the Scripture, ‘Love thy neighbor as thyself;’…” (Mary Baker Eddy, “Science and Health with Key to the Scriptures,” p. 340).

Even if it seems we’re alone and without help, each of us can turn to God and feel the presence and care of divine Love.

This article was adapted from an article in the April 10, 2017, issue of the Christian Science Sentinel.

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Dear Reader,

About a year ago, I happened upon this statement about the Monitor in the Harvard Business Review – under the charming heading of “do things that don’t interest you”:

“Many things that end up” being meaningful, writes social scientist Joseph Grenny, “have come from conference workshops, articles, or online videos that began as a chore and ended with an insight. My work in Kenya, for example, was heavily influenced by a Christian Science Monitor article I had forced myself to read 10 years earlier. Sometimes, we call things ‘boring’ simply because they lie outside the box we are currently in.”

If you were to come up with a punchline to a joke about the Monitor, that would probably be it. We’re seen as being global, fair, insightful, and perhaps a bit too earnest. We’re the bran muffin of journalism.

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The Monitor is a peculiar little publication that’s hard for the world to figure out. We’re run by a church, but we’re not only for church members and we’re not about converting people. We’re known as being fair even as the world becomes as polarized as at any time since the newspaper’s founding in 1908.

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