Safe in the storm
A woman whose coastal community faced multiple hurricane threats explores the power of God, good, to bring safety and peace of mind even in frightening situations.
How can we feel God’s presence when a severe storm is predicted? The Bible offers some helpful ideas. A Psalm tells us, “God is our refuge and strength, a very present help in trouble” (Psalms 46:1). And Proverbs suggests that God has “gathered the wind in his fists” (30:4), showing that there is no force outside of God’s control.
As an example of understanding this, Christ Jesus remained calm when he was in a ship with his disciples during a storm. The disciples feared for their lives, but Jesus “rebuked the wind, and said unto the sea, Peace, be still. And the wind ceased, and there was a great calm” (Mark 4:39).
Jesus knew God as the only legitimate power. It was this realization that enabled him to not only silence the violent storm, but prove God’s loving control over many discordant conditions. And as we recognize the limitless power of God, good, we too can experience safety and protection more fully.
Years ago while living on the coast of Florida, a hurricane was approaching, threatening the millions of people in that area, many in high-rise apartment buildings. My husband and I prayed on the basis taught in Christian Science, and many others were also praying for safety. We were affirming that the power of God, who is completely good, is supreme, and that we could trust that power.
When the hurricane was just 10 miles offshore, it suddenly – some said miraculously – lifted up and never touched land. There was much talk in our area about how prayer had protected us all from danger.
Some time later a more dangerous hurricane (Category 5) was approaching, and many residents either decided to evacuate or were told to do so. We were not required to evacuate, and my husband felt we should stay. During his military career, he’d had many proofs of God’s protecting power through an understanding of Christian Science.
I agreed with him, so we stayed and devoted many hours to prayer and to study of the Bible and “Science and Health with Key to the Scriptures” by Mary Baker Eddy, the discoverer of Christian Science. A couple of statements from Science and Health were especially helpful. The first was this passage, in which “Mind” is used as a synonym for God: “The real jurisdiction of the world is in Mind, controlling every effect and recognizing all causation as vested in divine Mind” (p. 379).
The second was the spiritual definition of the word “wind” given in the glossary of biblical terms found in Science and Health. It reads: “That which indicates the might of omnipotence and the movements of God’s spiritual government, encompassing all things” (p. 597).
We held to the spiritual fact that God is the only valid power, and that this omnipotence supersedes any material sense of an opposite power. Spending the night in the hallway of our home, we prayed with the 91st Psalm, affirming that we were safe “in the secret place of the most High” (verse 1) and cherishing this truth as the spiritual reality for everyone in the expected path of the storm.
At one point during the night a very tall tree was uprooted and fell just four inches from our home, which was completely protected except for a few tiles blown off the roof.
Later we learned that the winds had been clocked at 164 miles per hour a few blocks away at the National Hurricane Center and that a 17-foot-high storm surge had flooded many of the low-lying areas. There was much property damage, and unfortunately a few lives were lost, but we were very grateful for God’s protecting power manifested in the experience of so many in the area.
One of the blessings that came during the aftermath was a wonderful feeling of brotherhood among the many ethnicities in our community. Everywhere, residents seemed eager to help their neighbors and came together to rebuild the community. This spirit of cooperation and unity had not been so evident previously. Also, much gratitude was expressed for the outpouring of love and support which came in from all over our country and beyond. To me this reflected God’s universal love for all.
Truly, no matter what kinds of challenges we face, when we understand that God, divine Love and Mind, is infinite, we can experience Love’s ever-presence – comforting, protecting, and holding us all in its care.