Safe at school
No matter where our children are, God is there, guiding, guarding, and caring for them.
The prophet Isaiah assures us that “the work of righteousness shall be peace; and the effect of righteousness quietness and assurance for ever,” and that “[God’s] people shall dwell in a peaceable habitation, and in sure dwellings, and in quiet resting places” (Isaiah 32:17, 18).
How can we experience God’s great promise today with regard to the safety of children at school? This is especially pertinent in light of these statistics: There have been 114 shootings at schools in the United States from early 2018 to mid-April 2022 in which at least one person was killed or injured; nearly half have occurred since early 2021. How can we pray effectively to realize God’s protection in the face of such destructive and unnatural behavior?
The Bible says that knowing God is what brings peace and goodness into our lives. So, effective prayer begins with an understanding of God’s true nature. The Christian Science textbook gives this definition of God: “The great I am ; the all-knowing, all-seeing, all-acting, all-wise, all-loving, and eternal; Principle; Mind; Soul; Spirit; Life; Truth; Love; all substance; intelligence” (Mary Baker Eddy, Science and Health with Key to the Scriptures, p. 587).
All of God’s children are created in His image, as good as God is. There are no exceptions.
Why wouldn’t we want to turn in times of need to God, who is all-wise and all-loving? The Almighty has the answers we need to find peace, joy, health, harmony, and direction in our lives.
The Bible confirms that what God, good, created must be good. The first chapter of Genesis says that God created man (each one of us) in His own image, and that everything He made was very good. All children are created by God, Spirit, in His image, and are as good as God is. There are no exceptions. This great spiritual fact about God—that He is omnipotent, omniscient, and omnipresent—precludes the possibility of there being anything outside of His allness and goodness.
When revenge against those who have bullied, hurt, or made fun of someone is one reason given for the shootings, I have protested in prayer that bullying, unkindness, revenge, and anger are not natural to God’s children. Destructive thoughts and behaviors are lies about God’s spiritual image and likeness. These lies can be proved powerless by understanding and declaring their opposites to be true.
Mrs. Eddy, who discovered Christian Science, writes: “Because Truth is infinite, error should be known as nothing. Because Truth is omnipotent in goodness, error, Truth’s opposite, has no might. Evil is but the counterpoise of nothingness. The greatest wrong is but a supposititious opposite of the highest right” (Science and Health, p. 367).
Christian Science also gives us this great fact with which to defeat any fear about the power of destructive impulses: “No mortal mind has the might or right or wisdom to create or to destroy. All is under the control of the one Mind, even God” (Science and Health, p. 544). What comfort and courage can come to each of us from knowing this.
As we realize God’s great love for all His children, including those who seem to be troubled with dark, destructive thoughts, we understand this statement from the book of Isaiah: “All thy children shall be taught of the Lord; and great shall be the peace of thy children” (54:13). To me this says that no matter where our children are, God is there, guiding, guarding, and caring for them. Safety, wisdom, and love must be ever present because God is ever present. The more we acknowledge and hold to these great truths, the more we see them manifested in our lives.
Worrying about and rehearsing the apparent evils in the world do not bring us or anyone closer to safety and freedom. But recognizing God’s omnipresence and omni-action does, as Mrs. Eddy affirms: “Predicting danger does not dignify life, whereas forecasting liberty and joy does; for these are strong promoters of health and happiness. All education should contribute to moral and physical strength and freedom” (Miscellaneous Writings 1883–1896, p. 240).
This is a great starting point for our prayers for the world, especially the world’s children: forecasting and declaring liberty and joy, not destruction and death, as their natural state. Innocence, purity, and goodness, qualities of God, must be realized as the natural state of every child.
We can also support the ending of school shootings by refusing to participate in the blame game and instead seeing God’s creation as it truly is—wholly good. This will shine a light for schools everywhere and can replace fear and worry with a certain sense of God’s love and guidance.
The Church Manual by Mrs. Eddy states that it is the duty of every member of The Mother Church to pray daily, “ ‘Thy kingdom come;’ let the reign of divine Truth, Life, and Love be established in me, and rule out of me all sin; and may Thy Word enrich the affections of all mankind, and govern them!” (p. 41).
What a beautiful prayer for the world—to desire that God govern and that His Word, or Truth, enrich humanity’s thoughts and sentiments. Prayer is the most powerful tool we have for blessing the world, because thoughts of Truth affirm God’s blessings for all whom our thoughts rest upon. The truth is that every school and child is embraced and protected in God’s kingdom, the “peaceable habitation” described in Isaiah 32, where divine Truth, Life, and Love reign supreme. Affirming this in prayer will have a healing impact on safety in schools.