From devastation to unspeakable joy
My thoughts became so absorbed with God’s presence that desolation and fear couldn’t impress me.
In an atmosphere in which fear seems to be the very air we breathe because of global instability, division, and aggression, is there nothing we can do? I have discovered that turning unreservedly to God in prayer enables me to face down fear. When we learn that God, divine Love, is everywhere present and all-powerful, we see for ourselves that fear can have no presence, activity, or power. And every time we are willing to live fearlessly, we contribute to a lessening of fear everywhere.
Many years ago in Spain, it looked as though I had lost everything. While I was away visiting family, I received a phone call from the police saying that my home had been vandalized and robbed. Remarkably, they had a photo of the perpetrator and his license plate as he was driving off my property, and they said I should come home immediately.
Fear is not inevitable, and evil is not the natural state of man.
When I arrived many hours later, the police were outside my home. They told me that they had never before seen anything like this violent destruction and vandalism. They remarked that the intent seemed filled with hatred. Windows and doors were gone. Everything that made the house habitable was broken. All the furniture had been taken, and both the inside and outside were defaced.
When the police left, an intense fear and resentment fell on me. I felt as though my whole being had been invaded and stripped of dignity. There was no way at that moment that I could enter my home. I decided to go buy some food and something to cover the open windows and entrances.
My study and practice of the teachings of Christian Science, which are based on the Bible, had shown me that the power of God heals and harmonizes all kinds of difficulties. I knew I needed to pray to feel divine Love’s fatherhood and motherhood embracing me, as I had felt on so many occasions in the two decades prior to this. This was the only way to remove the seed of fear threatening to take root in my thinking. I needed stillness to hear God’s guidance.
When I prayed, these words from the book of Isaiah in the Bible came to thought: “Fear thou not; for I am with thee: be not dismayed; for I am thy God: I will strengthen thee; yea, I will help thee; yea, I will uphold thee with the right hand of my righteousness” (41:10). It was clear to me that, even if their home or homeland is in the middle of conflict, no one is out of reach of the comfort and help of these powerful promises.
Christ Jesus’ words from the Sermon on the Mount also came to me strongly: “Lay not up for yourselves treasures upon earth, where moth and rust doth corrupt, and where thieves break through and steal: but lay up for yourselves treasures in heaven, where neither moth nor rust doth corrupt, and where thieves do not break through nor steal” (Matthew 6:19, 20).
With this panoply of comforting spiritual ideas, I felt a greater calm. I was able to enter the house with a new strength from Spirit, God, to confront the situation. For the next two days, I remained in the house, praying day and night. My thoughts became so absorbed with God’s presence that desolation and fear couldn’t impress me. I felt that I couldn’t leave the house until I had the conviction that nothing had ever touched my true home, which forever dwells in Love.
During those two days, prayer transformed me from feeling completely devastated to feeling an unspeakable joy. When I understood that right ideas from God sustain my real spiritual identity, I saw that nothing had really changed. My spiritual identity as God’s reflection was my permanent home—indestructible, intact, and inviolate. This not only brought me a deep peace but enabled me to feel a heartfelt compassion and tenderness for all mankind.
By the third day, I felt ready to return to the police, as they had requested—this time, without anger or any sense of defeat. They told me that these thieves were considered extremely dangerous. As a former police officer, I was given permission to participate in the search, as long as I kept in contact with the chief of the investigation, which I agreed to do.
The police showed me the photo of the man seen leaving my property. He was suspected to be the leader of this gang. I prayed for guidance, and through a brief search, was able to discover where the man lived. I went to his home and found him in his car. I knew the law of Love was uncovering what was wrong. As I walked straight to his car and identified myself, feeling divine Love’s presence, I could see clearly that this man couldn’t be separated from Love either. This all-inclusive spiritual Love left no room for fear.
I told him that I was the owner of a house he’d recently robbed. I spoke with him for a few minutes and felt much compassion and tenderness for him. He began to cry and told me that he knew what he had done was wrong. I spoke gently to him and said that there was no way to have a useful and successful life other than to correct his wrong actions.
This was my way of living the Lord’s Prayer that Christ Jesus gave to his disciples. This prayer says, in part, “Forgive us our debts, as we forgive our debtors” (Matthew 6:12). I felt the power and practicality of this healing prayer; I knew it to be a loving and corrective law of God that is natural for us to obey as expressions of God. It always brings fearlessness and restoration.
We went together in my car to the police station, where the man was detained and later tried and sent to jail. Even though I don’t know what ultimately happened to this man, I know that he had to have been touched by the Christ—the message of divine Love speaking to human consciousness—as I was. The chief of the investigation called me a few months later to tell me that there had been a noticeable decrease in robberies in the region, which included my town and many others. He said he was very grateful for my courage and what I was able to do. Eventually the damages were repaired and new furniture acquired so that I could live in the house again.
This experience showed me that each one of us is tenderly governed by spiritual law. Under this law, there is no evil source or influence—nothing that can wrongly divert any individual’s real purpose to bless. No evil intention exists here because the presence of God’s infinite goodness destroys all forms of evil.
Mary Baker Eddy, the Discoverer of Christian Science, wrote in her most important book, Science and Health with Key to the Scriptures, “One infinite God, good, unifies men and nations; constitutes the brotherhood of man; ends wars; fulfils the Scripture, ‘Love thy neighbor as thyself;’ annihilates pagan and Christian idolatry,—whatever is wrong in social, civil, criminal, political, and religious codes; equalizes the sexes; annuls the curse on man, and leaves nothing that can sin, suffer, be punished or destroyed” (p. 340).
Fear is not inevitable, and evil is not the natural state of man. This will become more evident in our individual and collective experience as we allow God’s love to bless and guide every aspect of our lives.