I’ll never forget one time in my high school years when I was walking carefully along a narrow trail on a cliff about 60 feet above the Pacific Ocean. A part of the footing gave way, and I found myself holding tightly to only the base of a small woody plant. My girlfriend, who was standing on the rocky shore below me, screamed.
It was terrifying. But in that moment I also thought of something I had learned in attending Christian Science Sunday School: that God is infinite Love itself and cherishes each of us. I paused mentally to acknowledge God’s limitless love, and as I did so I really began to feel that love, and my fear largely melted. Very slowly and deliberately, I moved my feet until I found footholds that I used to climb to safety.
I was quiet for the rest of the day, processing what had happened. I had felt how God’s love isn’t just theoretical; it is tangibly real.
This was a significant and encouraging experience. It helped show me that it isn’t really possible for both fear and God’s love to exist simultaneously. Over the years since, no matter what I am facing, I’ve often found it helpful to just stop and be mentally still. Then, in that quietness, I become more open to and aware of God’s presence, of God’s love for me and everyone. Fears of all sorts melt away, and it always leads me to love God even more.
The Bible assures us, “There is no fear in love; but perfect love casteth out fear” (I John 4:18). This idea is a central one in Christian Science and is one that everyone can experience. Take, for instance, Cordelia Willey, a woman who’d been an invalid for about 10 years. In 1888 she attended a class about prayer and healing taught by Mary Baker Eddy, the discoverer of Christian Science. Ms. Willey later recalled: “One day at the close of the class, I told Mrs. Eddy that I was so afraid, just full of fear. Instantly came the question, ‘My dear, what are you afraid of?’ And I told her I did not know just what the fear was; for an instant she stood still and then said, ‘You know, God is Love.’ I was healed and that sense of fear has never returned” (Yvonne Caché von Fettweis and Robert Townsend Warneck, “Mary Baker Eddy: Christian Healer,” Amplified Edition, p. 352).
That idea, “God is Love,” is so much more than just some comforting words spoken from one person to another. Behind it is the spiritual reality that God – perfect, divine Love – is always present and in full authority. The Love that is God is reflected in all creation, including all of us, and it’s our true nature to express it. The pure goodness of this Love envelops everyone, without exception. When our thoughts are open to God’s presence and supremacy, this transforms our thinking, frees us from fear’s grasp, and cures illness and injury.
I’ve found that it’s good to look for occasions throughout the week to just stop and feel the peaceful embrace of God’s love. So beautifully and perfectly, the tender yet very powerful love of God always includes and surrounds us. And we find ourselves less intimidated by our own or others’ fears as we become more aware of the presence of divine Love.