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Prayer stops a sexual assault

From the April 30, 2018 issue of the Christian Science Sentinel

Originally appeared online in the teen series: Trending - March 16, 2018

Right after college, I moved to another country. It was my first time in a busy metropolis and my first time taking public transportation during rush hour. On this particular day, the streetcar I was riding was so crowded that you literally couldn’t move in any direction or turn around. 

A few minutes into my ride, I realized that I was being touched inappropriately. Because the train was so crowded, there was no way I could physically stop or escape the assault. I felt trapped and afraid. 

I was new in my study of Christian Science, but I understood enough to know that even if I felt helpless, I could still pray. So my very simple, heartfelt prayer was, “God, tell me what to do.”

The answer came immediately: “Love him.” 

I was shocked and a little annoyed. “You’ve got to be kidding me,” I thought. “How can I love someone who’s doing this to me?”

“He can never touch the you God knows,” came the reply.

How does God know me, or you, or any of us? Someone once explained to me that one way of thinking about it might be, if God looked in a mirror, you would be what He would see. Wow! This doesn’t mean that any of us is God, but that everything God is, we express, because we reflect Him. As the Bible says: “As he is, so are we in this world” (I John 4:17). That means, if God isn’t afraid, then how could I be? And afraid of what? A bad man? Who could have made that bad man? Not God, who is completely good. 

In Science and Health with Key to the Scriptures, Mary Baker Eddy makes this point about confronting and overcoming evil: “At all times and under all circumstances, overcome evil with good. Know thyself, and God will supply the wisdom and the occasion for a victory over evil” (p. 571). Note that she doesn’t say “victory over an evil person,” because evil is not a person. It has no name, face, or identity, because God didn’t make it. Instead, you might call it a case of mistaken identity—a lie that masquerades as a person, but could never be true about God’s image. A victimizer—or a victim—would certainly not be what God saw if He looked into a mirror. 

The next sentence on that same page says, “Clad in the panoply of Love, human hatred cannot reach you.” If divine Love is ever present, then Love is never absent. If Love, our Father, is never absent, then how could I not feel totally safe in His care? And God’s love is so complete that, since I am safe from the effects of wrong action, the other person must be freed from all wrong desire, shown the emptiness of that wrong desire, and reformed to be the man God created. Knowing how safe I was—how safe we all were—I suddenly felt peaceful, at one with my Father, and completely protected.

This all happened very quickly—perhaps in a matter of minutes. The next time I was aware of my surroundings, I realized that the inappropriate touching had stopped. There had been no train stops, and no opportunity for anyone to move, but the problem had ceased.

I got off that streetcar in awe of what had just happened—in awe of the quick realization of my freedom. And I never suffered any aftereffects; I truly felt unscathed by the whole episode.

The greatest blessing for me, though, was that through this experience, I gained a deeper sense of our real and only identity as wholly and completely spiritual and untouched by any suggestion of evil. This new understanding of our spiritual identity has been the basis of other healings I’ve had over the years, and has enabled me to help others as well. It has even given me the freedom to go into prisons and hold Christian Science services without fear or anxiety, knowing that everyone I meet is, in reality, harmless, innocent, and good.

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