There was a time I was asked to step in and serve on the front lines of a situation in which there was a lot of fear of contagion and spread of disease. Before going in, I found myself becoming fearful of catching the disease. The thought kept coming, “It feels like I’m walking into the lions’ den.” It was scary and unsettling. However, as the time approached for me to go, when that same thought came, a thought that followed gave me pause: “If that’s because it seems scary, you are missing the whole point of that story!”
It was in reference to the well-known Bible story about Daniel, a Hebrew prophet who was so devoted to worshipping the one God that he refused to stop praying to Him, despite the proclaimed punishment for doing so – being thrown into a den of hungry lions. That takes a lot of faith and trust! Daniel did end up being thrown into the den of lions, but he was completely safe and totally untouched. In fact, as he was being thrown to the lions, the king himself said to Daniel, “May your God, whom you faithfully serve, deliver you!” (Daniel 6:16, New Revised Standard Version).
I began to really ponder what it was that made Daniel feel safe in this situation, and what made the king hopeful God could deliver him. In the story and throughout his life, it is clear that Daniel loved God and knew that God loved him. Daniel seemed to understand that there is a divine law of Love in operation at all times to guide and guard us, and that God, who is Love, would protect him as He had in the past. As “Science and Health with Key to the Scriptures” by Mary Baker Eddy, the founder of the Monitor, puts it, “The divine Love, which made harmless the poisonous viper, which delivered men from the boiling oil, from the fiery furnace, from the jaws of the lion, can heal the sick in every age and triumph over sin and death” (p. 243).
Daniel demonstrated his love of God through his faithfulness and obedience to God. He was upholding the First Commandment – which is to know, worship, and obey only the one all-powerful, ever-present God who is Love.
Thinking about this story made me wonder what I was being tempted to worship in the situation I was facing. I’ve heard it said that our God is whatever we think about most. So what was consuming my thought? Was it fear of sickness or contagion? Or was I trusting God, Love, to guide and protect me, no matter where I was, as the Bible promises? For instance, the Scriptures say “God is our refuge and strength, a very present help in trouble” (Psalms 46:1). I have had countless proofs of this – proof of God’s tender care and strong protection in both big and small situations. I knew I could look back on that record and understand that trusting in God now would bring about the same result.
As I prayed with these ideas before entering this situation, I felt the conviction that I could trust God with my health as I was serving my fellow man. I was there to bear witness to the fact that the people I was meeting with were also created in the image and likeness of God, whole and complete, as the Bible makes plain.
Science and Health states, “All of God’s creatures, moving in the harmony of Science, are harmless, useful, indestructible” (p. 514). The truth of our being as God’s children is that we cannot harm or be harmed by another of God’s creatures – whether that’s a lion or our fellow men and women. Through relying on prayer, I not only felt safe, but I was safe and protected. The people whom I was serving also found quick healing and gained a sense of peace from their fears.
Whether you are a front-line worker entering a situation with the threat of contagion or simply going to the grocery store, you do not have to be afraid. We can trust in the law of God’s love to protect each one of us. When we love and worship God alone and refuse to give power to anything but our one all-powerful, all-loving, ever-present God, the same sense of security that Daniel had, and proved practical, is possible for us today.
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 global pandemic. There is no paywall for any of this coverage.