Overcoming fear of the unknown

It can seem there’s a lot we don’t know – about our health, our economic stability, what the future holds, and so on. But the realization that God’s love is knowable and His care reliable overcomes fear, bringing healing and peace – as a father experienced when his son became suddenly ill.

Of all the fears that nag at us, fear of the unknown can seem the most terrifying. The COVID-19 pandemic is a case in point. Media reports often magnify the uncertainty many already feel. “There’s a lot we just don’t know,” experts tell us.

By contrast, God is described in the Bible as all-knowing. Psalm 139 begins: “Lord, you have examined me and you know me. You know everything I do;... You are all around me on every side; you protect me with your power” (verses 1, 2, 5, Good News Translation).

Each of us has the God-given capacity to know what God knows – to perceive the one true reality of God’s spiritual creation and to know ourselves as safely tucked into this creation. There are no unknowns to God, who is infinite Mind, or to us as God’s spiritual offspring, who express this Mind.

This idea came into fresh focus for me as I read this definition of “unknown” that appears in the Glossary of “Science and Health with Key to the Scriptures” by Mary Baker Eddy, the discoverer of Christian Science: “That which spiritual sense alone comprehends, and which is unknown to the material senses.

“Paganism and agnosticism may define Deity as ‘the great unknowable;’ but Christian Science brings God much nearer to man, and makes Him better known as the All-in-all, forever near” (p. 596).

Here, in a few words, the author pinpoints fear as a product of not knowing God. And not knowing God as the result of letting the five senses (“the material senses”) dictate one’s view of life and health. Christian Science helps us address fear by looking deeply into the very nature of God. This “looking” involves spiritual sense, which is everyone’s God-given ability to think, see, and feel spiritually – to discern what God, Spirit, is communicating to us.

There are powerful examples of this in the Bible, especially in the life of Christ Jesus. He not only knew God intimately but also verified God’s wholly good and spiritual nature by healing people. Is it any wonder he was not only the most loving and insightful man on earth but also the most fearless?

People came to Jesus in desperate situations, but he resolved each of them quickly and peacefully. In one case, Jesus is described as “asleep on a pillow” as waves crashed into the vessel he and his disciples were in (see Mark 4:35-39). The disciples awakened him and asked why he didn’t care that they were all about to drown.

Was Jesus just a sound sleeper? Or was he so conscious of the presence of God, divine Love, that he literally wasn’t “in” the storm? He rose and said with authority, “Peace, be still,” and the waters became still.

“Peace, be still,” is what God is saying to each of us through the Christ, the divine message that’s just as present today as it was in Jesus’ time. Christ, Truth, is here to help us see the reality of what God always sees and knows. When we receive the Christ message into our hearts, a great spiritual peace sweeps over us, removing fear and opening the way for healing.

I felt this deep peace unmistakably one night when our young son became suddenly ill. What began as a mild fever quickly intensified, and I was gripped with fear in spite of my prayers. A Christian Science practitioner agreed to come right over and pray for our son. My wife and I had of course been praying, but we were so grateful for the practitioner’s support.

I was prepared to call 911 if the situation worsened, but the moment this spiritually minded woman entered our home, I felt the Christly assurance that God was holding my son safe. Within minutes, the fever dissolved and he was breathing and acting normally again. It was one of the most immediate and sacred healing experiences I have ever had.

This experience and so many others over the years confirm the healing power of knowing that the very substance of our being is created and maintained by God. And they show us that God loves and preserves us – not so much by rescuing us from evil, including disease, but by helping us see that evil is never the reality it seems to be. The Christ is here today telling us, “Do not be afraid” (Mark 5:36, NKJV) – your true identity is spiritual, upheld by the one perfect Mind that is God.

As we glimpse this, it restores calm. Helps us know what our creator knows about us: that we exist as divine Mind’s very knowing of its own perfect selfhood. And heals our fear of the unknown.

Adapted from an article published on sentinel.christianscience.com, April 30, 2020.

Editor’s note: As a public service, all the Monitor’s coronavirus coverage is free, including articles from this column. There’s also a special free section of JSH-Online.com on a healing response to the coronavirus. There is no paywall for any of this coverage.

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