Finding peace amid chaos
When things get turbulent or frightening, it can seem hard to find mental calm. But Christ’s timeless promise of peace offers a basis for experiencing healing, harmony, and peace of mind.
When our children were quite little, we decided to take an aerial tramway to the top of a mountain to enjoy the view. It was also ski season and there were crowds of people using the mountain for skiing. Quite unexpectedly, the winds picked up and a storm began brewing. The operators of the tramway shut it down because of the dangerously strong winds.
Everyone was told to leave the mountain, but the only way down was a train that had a limited capacity. It quickly became clear the train couldn’t take everyone at once. People began pushing toward the train, but the crowd was so dense we really couldn’t move. We were being squeezed literally from all sides. The fear and panic setting in were palpable.
In that moment, it might have seemed that calm was out of reach. But the Bible poetically records Christ Jesus as having said, “Peace I leave with you, my peace I give unto you: not as the world giveth, give I unto you. Let not your heart be troubled, neither let it be afraid” (John 14:27). This is a promise for all time. As we come to understand God as ever present and all-powerful, we too can feel the peace that stills chaos and fear.
“The world’s” way is based on material thinking, or relying on the material picture for our sense of reality. That’s not the source of the peace Jesus was talking about. The way through which Jesus gave this peace was through Christ, God’s timeless message of love and harmony for all. The peace expressed in this divine message is permanent and unchangeable. It can never be changed into turmoil or turbulence because God is and knows only good.
Jesus proved the power of this peace when he and the disciples were in a boat caught at night in a raging storm (see Mark 4:35-39). In answer to the disciples’ fears that the boat would sink, Jesus faced the storm and spoke three words: “Peace, be still.” And the wind immediately gave way to a “great calm.”
Christian Science reveals the spiritual laws that undergirded Jesus’ teachings, laws which are all based on the premise that God, Spirit, is all that really exists; that the divine Mind is the only legitimate Mind, and is all-knowing; that there is no other power, no other presence, absolutely nothing that can resist or argue against God’s infinite goodness; and that each of us is in fact spiritual, the very expression of God, made in the image of divine Love. Today we can take heart in the fact that Jesus’ promise of peace is for everyone.
So right there on the mountain, I reached out to God in prayer. The inspiration that immediately came back was these reassuring words from a favorite hymn whose lyrics are a poem written by Mary Baker Eddy, the discoverer of Christian Science:
O gentle presence, peace and joy and power;
O Life divine, that owns each waiting hour,
Thou Love that guards the nestling’s faltering flight!
Keep Thou my child on upward wing tonight.
(“Poems,” p. 4)
The effect of those words was to immediately quiet my thought, allowing me to feel the calm assurance that everyone was safe, including our sons. Embracing the spiritual laws of God’s loving care, understanding them in some measure, and putting them into practice does indeed bring the peace Christ Jesus promised us. In this case, the pushing and shoving became less and less, and ultimately everyone got down the mountain safely.
As Mrs. Eddy wrote: “What a glorious inheritance is given to us through the understanding of omnipresent Love! More we cannot ask: more we do not want: more we cannot have. This sweet assurance is the ‘Peace, be still’ to all human fears, to suffering of every sort” (“Miscellaneous Writings 1883-1896,” p. 307).