Recently I was prompted to think back on my year of military service in Vietnam. I was stationed a few miles south of the Demilitarized Zone, and every night for the first several months of my tour, our base endured rocket attacks launched from beyond the DMZ. Without warning, an incoming round would explode nearby, and we would scramble for shelter in an adjacent bunker. It was nerve-racking to say the least.
Yet throughout that time, I actually didn’t feel a sense of impending disaster for me or for the men on the base. I owed that calmness to the understanding I’d gained from the Bible, and from the teachings of Christian Science, of the overarching protecting power of knowing that we “live, and move, and have our being” in God’s presence (Acts 17:28). This divine presence of Spirit is referred to in the Bible by such symbols as refuge, fortress, feathers, wings, and shield (see, for instance, Psalms 91). And we were indeed protected from the “terror by night” throughout those attacks, which, after a period, stopped altogether.
With today’s media daily reporting acts of violence, terrorism, and natural disasters, many ask, “So where is God? Where is that preserver of life and peace?”
It’s a reasonable question. To our material sense of things danger seems to be rampant. But that’s led me to reaffirm that God, Spirit, is not any more distant or absent in these times than during those chaotic nights on my military base. Location and situation have no effect on the presence of God, the divine Spirit that holds in safety its spiritual creation – which includes every one of us. So even when we’re faced with fear or danger, turning to that invariably and unchangeably good God, and understanding our true nature as the spiritual expressions of God’s goodness, can bring protection and a fearless sense of safety.
Bottom line – we can trust that the promises in the Bible are not faded relics of a time past, but contemporary signposts of a safety that is still present and reliable today.
A version of this article aired on the Dec. 7, 2017, Christian Science Daily Lift podcast.