In the midst of fire, God’s care

A Christian Science perspective: The simple, watchful acceptance of the presence and power of God, good, has healing consequences.

One hot summer night, a fire started in a building adjacent to where my husband and I lived. The wind was whipping flames past our window, and everyone had been evacuated. Outside, a huge crowd had gathered. Firefighters were working hard, but things looked bad for the three attached buildings.

It was tough to resist the feeling that this was a lost cause. Everyone around us seemed to think it was! But my husband and I began praying based on a conviction we’ve gained from the first chapter of the book of Genesis in the Bible – that God’s creation is all good. While it certainly didn’t appear this way watching the flames, intensified by the high winds, we held to the spiritual reality that God’s care is constant, and that all of us were embraced only in good.

This wasn’t a mental exercise in denial, but an active prayer – a shift in thought that had behind it the authority and encouragement of God’s goodness and care.

Soon the fire was successfully extinguished. When the firefighters left, one of them remarked how amazing it was that the wind had stopped so suddenly, allowing the fire to be put out. Our building was safe, and only an unoccupied corner building was damaged.

The beginning of the Bible includes two accounts of creation. The first account I referenced details how everything was made spiritually by God, who sees it as wholly good, blesses it all, and gives man, male and female, spiritual authority (see Genesis 1). The second account depicts men and women as sinners, and God as punishing them (see Genesis 2, 3).

While this second account has moral lessons to teach about the importance of obedience, I’ve found that the account I identify as reality, for myself and others, makes a big difference in my life.

The simple, watchful acceptance of God’s presence and power, and the goodness of creation in God’s image – no matter what is going on around us – has healing consequences. The pioneer of Christian healing in this age, Mary Baker Eddy – following Christ Jesus’ example – put it this way: “Stand porter at the door of thought. Admitting only such conclusions as you wish realized in bodily results, you will control yourself harmoniously” (“Science and Health with Key to the Scriptures,” p. 392).

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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.

But you know what? We change lives. And I’m going to argue that we change lives precisely because we force open that too-small box that most human beings think they live in.

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.

We have a mission beyond circulation, we want to bridge divides. We’re about kicking down the door of thought everywhere and saying, “You are bigger and more capable than you realize. And we can prove it.”

If you’re looking for bran muffin journalism, you can subscribe to the Monitor for $15. You’ll get the Monitor Weekly magazine, the Monitor Daily email, and unlimited access to CSMonitor.com.