Melting away fear in a crisis

Prayer based in an understanding of God’s ever-presence lifts fear and brings the clarity of thought that leads to solutions.

Christian Science Perspective audio edition
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I just finished watching the riveting film “Thirteen Lives,” directed by Ron Howard. It is based on the true story of the 2018 rescue in Thailand of a boys’ soccer team and coach who were trapped in a cave that was quickly filling with water from an unexpected monsoon. There were many notable scenes, but I was particularly intrigued by a scene in the cave where the coach guides the boys through a meditation, letting them know that they have control over fear.

It brought back memories of a time I was trapped underwater and pinned under an undercut rock by the river’s strong currents. I remember clearly having the thought that I had a choice: I could panic and be fearful, or I could pray.

Prayer in Christian Science goes beyond a mental exercise done in an effort to control one’s experience – although its effect does bring clarity in handling situations. It is a direct communion with God, divine Love itself. As I prayed, I felt a gentle presence and spiritual comfort. The fear melted away, and I had the clarity of thought to discern what my next steps should be. I opened my eyes and stretched one arm out and upstream toward the light. That was enough to grab the current that lifted me out.

The lessons learned from that experience were lasting:

• We can never be apart from God, Love. Christ Jesus stated, “I and my Father are one” (John 10:30), and demonstrated what that oneness with God looks like. We can all feel that comforting sense of our oneness with God as His spiritual offspring, made in the image of the Divine.

• We can never be out of God’s presence. Divine Love’s omnipresence is illustrated in Psalm 139, part of which says: “If I ascend up into heaven, thou art there: if I make my bed in hell, behold, thou art there” (verse 8). As God’s image, or reflection, we are inseparable from infinite Love.

• Listening to God’s, divine Mind’s, directing leads to the intelligent steps that dissolve fear and bring us to safety. God’s omnipresence means we are never without help, comfort, and guidance. It affirms our oneness with God and lifts the fear that we could be separated from divine Life or that danger could overwhelm us.

These ideas have also fueled my prayers about world conditions where people are abandoned, entrapped, or otherwise in crisis. Psalm 139 continues, “If I take the wings of the morning, and dwell in the uttermost parts of the sea; even there shall thy hand lead me, and thy right hand shall hold me. If I say, Surely the darkness shall cover me; even the night shall be light about me” (verses 9-11). The fact of God’s nature as ever-present and ever-active Spirit is a universal basis for casting out fear and finding safety.

Mr. Howard describes the film as “the anatomy of a miracle.” Mary Baker Eddy, who founded the Monitor, defines “miracle” in part as, “That which is divinely natural, but must be learned humanly” (“Science and Health with Key to the Scriptures,” p. 591). As the manifestation of divine Love, we are all equipped with the intelligence, fortitude, devotion, faith, and selflessness needed to overcome trials.

Because God is everywhere, we are always in God’s presence. And because we are one with God, it is natural for us to listen for the divine Mind’s directing, to feel the calm and joy of divine Soul, and to know and witness that all are embraced by infinite Love. As we more fully feel and understand God’s perfect love and tender care, fear dissolves.

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