After a recent visit to London, I was struck by the calmness and evenness of the people I met. I was reminded of the now popular “Keep calm and carry on” motivational poster, once intended to raise the morale of the British public during World War II.
British fortitude and calmness were once again evident during a series of terrorist attacks in London. Instead of letting fear dominate, residents chose to calmly carry on yet remain alert and vigilant.
However, there is more to be done than simply staying calm as one keeps on with daily life. To face down fear, I’ve found strong help in the Bible, including the following in the book of Psalms: “Great peace have they which love thy law: and nothing shall offend them” (119:165). God’s law overrules all that is unlike good because it is the universal law of harmony. The Bible shows how the understanding of this was proved throughout the life of Christ Jesus.
For example, the book of Matthew shares an account of Jesus and his disciples traveling in a boat that was caught up in a boisterous storm (see 8:23-27). The disciples were terrified, but Jesus met the storm with calm resolve. He understood God’s law to be ever present and in constant operation. Jesus asked his disciples, “Why are ye fearful, O ye of little faith?” The account continues, “Then he arose, and rebuked the winds and the sea; and there was a great calm.” Jesus proved to his disciples that their fears were unfounded. God’s love and their God-given safety was with them wherever they were.
The healing power of relying on this law was proved for me while traveling on a flight over the Atlantic Ocean. I had fallen asleep and was awakened by loud, angry voices. On the other side of the plane, a young man was shouting at a woman sitting near him. A flight attendant moved the woman to another seat, and she told the man, “If you do not calm down, we will have to turn this plane around and return to the airport.”
My thought naturally turned to prayer, and I affirmed that there was only the presence of God’s love. The Monitor’s founder, Mary Baker Eddy, wrote in “Science and Health with Key to the Scriptures”: “The depth, breadth, height, might, majesty, and glory of infinite Love fill all space. That is enough!” (p. 520). I prayed that Love was present to meet the need of every individual. And how could infinite Love fail to be enough?
As I looked around, I saw fear on the faces of my fellow travelers. But I continued to affirm silently that we were all God’s children. The man of God’s creating forever reflects spiritual strength, dominion, peace, calm, and fearlessness. Not only do we express those qualities, but we also all have the innate ability to feel God’s law of love assuring us of His ever-presence and all-power.
I looked up at the man and found myself filled with compassion. I perceived his spiritual nature; I recognized that he could feel God’s love, just as I was. Then the flight attendant walked over and handed me his newspaper. She said: “Please take this; he wants you to have it. If you take this, it will help quiet him.” I was surprised he had noticed me. Perhaps he had seen me smiling at him. I thanked the flight attendant, nodded and smiled at the man, and took the newspaper. Soon a sense of peace resumed, and we continued on our way.
Words of the Psalmist assure us: “God is our refuge and strength, a very present help in trouble” (Psalms 46:1). We can remain calm amid anger, hate, or fear when we know God is our ever-present, omnipotent help, a law of harmony that erases all human discord. So keep that spiritual calm, and carry on with joy!
Adapted from an article in the Nov. 27, 2017, issue of the Christian Science Sentinel.