From panic to peace

A Christian Science perspective: God’s love and guidance are right at hand.

A blur of bustling commuters rushed past me in the middle of the Tokyo train station. Everyone knew where they were going except me. Although my friends had given me detailed directions, I couldn’t remember my train connection in that moment. (This was before Google Maps!) I felt panicked and alone.

I had been in Tokyo for the weekend, and the next day I was supposed to fly home after spending my summer elsewhere in Japan as a college student teaching English. When I’d first arrived in Japan, I hadn’t been able to speak any Japanese and had known no one. It had been an amazing adventure.

Over the course of the summer I had come to find that trusting a higher intelligence than my own to guide me was invaluable as I communicated with others, made friends, and navigated the city. I took time each day to nurture my understanding of God, through reading two books that are so inspiring to me: the Bible and the textbook on Christian Science, “Science and Health with Key to the Scriptures,” by Mary Baker Eddy. I felt connected with God in a way that made me feel at home wherever I was. I had come to think of God as the ever-present Mind governing the universe, a Mind that is Love. And this wasn’t abstract to me. I felt like I could turn to God like a best friend, a parent, and a wise counselor who was available 24/7.

So in that moment of panic in the train station, I paused and prayed, quietly acknowledging God’s care for everyone. I felt the fear and panic replaced by reassurance that God, who is Love itself, wouldn’t leave me lost or stranded. In the Bible, the prophet Jeremiah recorded: “Am I a God near at hand, says the Lord, and not a God afar off? Can anyone hide himself in secret places, so I shall not see him? ... Do not I fill heaven and earth?” (Jeremiah 23:23, 24, New King James Version).

Suddenly I noticed a kind Japanese man asking me in English if I needed help. I told him where I was going, and he went out of his way to take me to the right train in the station. He waited until I boarded and asked a couple on the train to be sure I got off at the right stop. As I waved goodbye to my new friend, I felt so grateful for his care of my specific need and for the comforting peace of divine Love I had felt even before this solution to my needs became apparent.

In the years since, I have indeed been helped many times by technological developments such as Google Maps, but I’ve learned that the greatest guide of all is the spiritual compass that keeps us all on track when we look to God for answers. This has helped me support my own college-aged son as he travels abroad this summer. That day in the Tokyo train station showed the practicality of one of my favorite lines: “Divine Love always has met and always will meet every human need” (Science and Health, p. 494).

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