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SAFE IN FLOODWATERS

From the April 6, 2009 issue of the Christian Science Sentinel

First appeared on spirituality.com on February 14, 2008

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When I was a freshman in college, a friend and I made plans to meet another couple of friends for dinner and a movie. While we waited for them to return from a trip to a nearby town, they suggested we go to their mobile home and make ourselves comfortable.

It was raining very hard when my friend and I arrived at the mobile home. But we went inside and turned on the TV, passing the time, as the rain continued to pour down.

A little while later, I got up to look out a window, and, to my horror, I saw that water had risen very quickly to the bottom of the front door—at least four feet above the ground. What we didn't know then was that there was a creek located nearby that was spilling over its banks. Soon, the home started to shift positions, and we felt we needed to leave immediately. We opened the door and stepped, thigh-deep, out into what looked like calm waters, but we found out very quickly that there was a strong current leading downstream toward the creek. My friend and I were swept downstream, along with some other residents from the mobile home park.

In those moments, I turned wholeheartedly to God for help. I started singing out loud the first hymn I'd ever learned from the Christian Science Hymnal, from a poem by Mary Baker Eddy called " 'Feed My Sheep'." And I really meant every word as I sang! It begins, "Shepherd, show me how to go, / O'er the hillside steep." The last verse speaks about God's protecting power:

So, when day grows dark and cold,
Tear or triumph harms,
Lead Thy lambkins to the fold,
Take them in Thine arms ... (No. 304)

Minutes later, a Volkswagen Beetle floated by, and I was able to climb onto the back of it. As it passed a tree, I jumped off and clung to the tree, still singing. I heard screams and turned around to see a mobile home floating through the floodwaters very fast and straight at me. I realized that if I swung around to the downstream side of the tree that my fingers would be crushed. Although I didn't have much time to think, I simply reached out in prayer to God, insisting that He was going to take care of me. He would take each one of His children all the way to safety, not just partway and then abandon us. Within seconds, I found a handhold on each side of the tree that allowed me to swing around so my fingers cleared the fast-moving trailer. Divine Love was in action.

After I'd worked my way up the branches of the tree, I saw a man drifting by who clearly needed help. He called out and said he was tired and couldn't go on any longer. Even though he was much larger than I was, I was able to help him up onto the lower branches. Again, this was proof of Love in action. As I look back, I realize it was God's strength alone that allowed me to grab hold of that man's arm and pull him to safety.

God would take us all the way to safety, not just partway and then abandon us.

At that time, I could hear people in the other trees, including my friend who'd been with me in the mobile home. As we all waited for the waters to subside, I recalled the description of Church from Science and Health as "the structure of Truth and Love" (p. 583). I'd recently become a branch church member in my hometown and was a bit sad to leave it when I went away to college. But I realized then that the structure of Truth and Love was always with me, wherever I was. This structure was supporting me right then, even in that tree. The man holding on to the lower branches told me that he was afraid the tree would break. I don't remember what I said to him, but I do remember affirming again and again in my prayers that "the structure of Truth and Love" was holding us both up. The pure trust I had in God was giving me confidence that we were all safe.

Soon, I had the idea to encourage everyone in the other trees to call for help at the same time. "One, two, three ...," I counted, and then we called out together many times. About an hour or so later, the rain stopped, and we heard the voices of people who had come to rescue us in fishing boats. We were all safe.

I was so grateful for God's help. I'd learned that with Him all things were possible, and that I was always safe in His arms.

Claudia McCracken lives in Houston, Texas.

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