Traversing a beautiful Parisian park while running an errand, I heard the screech of car tires and a mother’s scream. While riding a scooter in the crosswalk, her preschooler had been struck by a taxi, knocking off his shoe and throwing him several feet. I quickly exited the park, heading toward the crowd that had begun to gather at the scene. The mother scooped up her little boy and carried him to a nearby bench. The taxi driver was in obvious distress. Bystanders were offering assistance.
So while others cared for the practical need as best they could, I started to pray for the healing, peace, restoration, and safety of all involved. The Bible teaches that God is “a very present help in trouble” (Psalms 46:1), and I have seen that prayer can indeed be a very effective response in emergencies, enabling us to experience God’s healing and transformative presence and power.
I recalled how some time ago, I had seen God’s healing power proved when I impaled my foot on a rusty nail. The hospital was three blocks away, but I knew that I could trust in God’s healing presence at any moment and in any place.
I immediately began to pray for myself, acknowledging that I could only ever be as God had made me: His loved, protected, flawless spiritual child – not a mortal susceptible to injury. This is the true identity of everyone. Monitor founder Mary Baker Eddy wrote of reality in this way: “There is no life, truth, intelligence, nor substance in matter. All is infinite Mind and its infinite manifestation, for God is All-in-all” (“Science and Health with Key to the Scriptures,” p. 468).
This radical idea that true substance isn’t found in matter also leads to a radical way to think about accidents. As I considered God as the intelligent source of real life and activity, I saw that an accident could have no real effect on anything God had made. In fact, because God is supreme and governs harmoniously, accidents are not possible under His government. Our true substance is purely spiritual – that is, of Spirit, God – and thus exempt from happenstance and danger.
This seems to fly in the face of what we see and experience on a day-to-day basis. But when we’re willing to open our thought and let our inherent spiritual sense inform how we look at the world around us, we start to see just how powerful these ideas are. In the case of my foot, as I prayed with these spiritual truths, the wound began healing very quickly. By the next day there was no trace of the injury at all, and I never suffered any ill effects afterward.
So that day in Paris, I stepped away from the noise into a quiet spot and listened for God’s Christly message – conveying the truth of God as the source and maintainer of life, and of man as the loved child of God, forever in His care. I realized that in this perfect relation of God to man, fear, confusion, and accidents have no place or power. My prayer brought me peace and a conviction that all would be well.
When I stepped back onto the street a few minutes later, the scene had entirely changed. The taxi was gone. The crowd had dispersed. No one was even near the crosswalk or the bench where the mother and child had been. I retraced my steps back to the park. As I crossed it, who should whiz past me on his scooter? The little boy, with his mother and her shopping cart following happily behind. Health and peace had been restored.
To me this illustrates that health and joy are natural, at every moment. Science and Health explains: “When an accident happens, you think or exclaim, ‘I am hurt!’ Your thought is more powerful than your words, more powerful than the accident itself, to make the injury real.
“Now reverse the process. Declare that you are not hurt and understand the reason why, and you will find the ensuing good effects to be in exact proportion to your disbelief in physics, and your fidelity to divine metaphysics, confidence in God as All, which the Scriptures declare Him to be” (p. 397).
Understanding that God is ever present and perpetually cares for His spiritual creation can bring protection and safety as well as restoration and healing where needed.