Don’t give worry a way in
When we open our hearts to God’s protecting love for all, we’re “caulking our arks” – equipping ourselves to express patience, compassion, and courage rather than succumb to worry and fear.
These past couple of years, everyday people have become heroes: teachers, social workers, grocery clerks, health-care workers, farmers, neighbors. Their compassion has helped others deal with worry, or what one young boy described, according to The New York Times, as “sad panic mode.”
When I hear of people surviving very unsettling events with their courage and love intact, I remember the story of Noah’s ark (see Genesis, chaps. 6-9). Noah was told by God to build a boat, or ark, and it took him, his family, and two of every kind of animal safely through a flood that covered the earth.
I find one of God’s instructions to Noah about how to build this ark especially interesting. Noah was told to caulk it with pitch, a sealant that would keep the water out.
We can ask ourselves, “Am I caulking my ark?” In a spiritual sense this could mean, “Am I trusting in God, so that waves of heaviness and anxiety can’t gain entry into my thoughts? Am I able to buoy up others so that they don’t sink into worry?”
The answer to those questions is in understanding and expressing the spiritual attributes, such as intelligence, joy, love, and fearlessness, that belong to God’s man, the likeness of divine Spirit. This is the real you and me – and the real friend, neighbor, and stranger we meet daily.
As this spiritual likeness, we are each the child of God, divine Love, steered by love and not by its inverse, worry. Courage is a natural response when we are moved by love. Mercy has the power to take away anger in stressful circumstances. And unselfishness is a recognition that there is always something positive to do for others. These qualities are like the pitch that caulks a boat.
Caulking our ark doesn’t mean sealing ourselves off from others or the concerns that they face. It’s about following the Bible’s instruction to keep out fear. Christ Jesus often said, “Fear not,” as both a comfort and a command. He got people out of dangerous circumstances – including sickness, hunger, and storms – by taking away their fears and healing them.
Jesus treated evil and the fear of it as one and the same thing, and as unreal and powerless, because evil isn’t created by God. How else could God keep us safe than by being the only real power and presence in our lives right where what we fear appears to be?
Christ, the divine nature of Jesus, gave him clear judgment about what is spiritually real and what isn’t. Jesus could heal because he knew that God, perfect Spirit, could not create a material, fearful mortal – the opposite of the indestructible substance of Spirit. His prayers destroyed the mesmeric effects of fear in the thoughts of those he healed. Jesus replaced their belief that life is wholly or partially matter-based – a belief that engenders fear – with the truth that man is God’s spiritual creation.
A truth like this brings love to the forefront of our thoughts – God’s love for us, and our love for God and each other. Each of us is forever protected by the infinite Love that has made us, as Noah’s story bears out. God’s creation is as indestructible as God, the creator. We are essential to God as the expression of all that is spiritually real and true.
Mary Baker Eddy, who discovered Christian Science, searched the Bible and its stories for their spiritual meaning. A scriptural glossary in her book “Science and Health with Key to the Scriptures” includes definitions of “Noah” and “ark.” The one for “ark” reads, in part, “God and man coexistent and eternal; Science showing that the spiritual realities of all things are created by Him and exist forever” (p. 581).
Knowing that God, Spirit, preserves and protects “the spiritual realities of all things” shifts our attention from worrisome events to what is powerfully present – God, good – and our ability to know ourselves as the spiritual offspring of God, safe and sound.
Like Noah, we have a precious cargo to protect: our thoughts about our world, our community, our family, and ourselves. It is Christ, the spirit of Truth, that speaks to us today and tells us that worry doesn’t have the upper hand. When we know that all are preserved by God and exercise that spiritual conviction in courage, joy, and compassion, we can be sure that worry won’t have a way in.
Adapted from an editorial published in the March 7, 2022, issue of the Christian Science Sentinel.
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