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Find safety in God’s presence

From the May 20, 2019 issue of the Christian Science Sentinel

I had just gotten off a commuter train from a major city to walk to where I had parked my car. Out of the blue, a man came up behind me, took me by the arm, and said, “You’re coming with me.” It was late afternoon, but still light. Had this man seen me there before? I don’t know. He didn’t have a police uniform on and was a complete stranger to me. It all happened so fast. I felt confused, frightened. I didn’t know what was going on or what to do. We went a short distance; then he drifted away. I hurried to my car, quite shaken. I don’t recall praying during the few minutes this was taking place, but, oh, how I thanked God when I got safely into my car. 

The moment I came in the front door, I called my husband at his office and told him what had just happened. We were so grateful and relieved that I was home safe and unharmed.

Even though I hadn’t felt I could pray during that episode, prayer is a significant aspect of each day for me, and on a daily basis I acknowledge that I live in God’s presence. I’m also very aware that God is an ever-present help. 

Later, when my husband and I were having dinner with friends, and I was telling them about the incident, one remarked on the crime in the area, which had people worried about staying safe, even in the daytime. As you can imagine, after that experience I gave a lot more attention to praying about the basis of God-provided safety and staying safe.

It’s good to know that we can understand what really constitutes individual safety; it’s vital to our peace of mind and freedom of action to know that we are actually never apart from God, the almighty Father, and His ever-present care. As I prayed along these lines, I felt more conviction of God’s protecting care, and the lurking fearful feelings began to fade. I never saw that man again. 

After that experience I gave a lot more attention to praying about the basis of God-provided safety and staying safe. 

As I thought more about personal safety, an experience Christ Jesus had came to thought. It always fills me with awe. As the New Testament records, an angry mob once led Jesus to the top of a hill with the violent intent of throwing him off. Then the account says, “But he passing through the midst of them went his way” (Luke 4:30).

“But this is Christ Jesus you’re talking about!” you may be thinking. “Little wonder he was able to escape harm!” Nonetheless, you and I can follow Jesus’ example; Jesus was knowing and proving man’s oneness with God—and we too can discern, understand, and take comfort in our oneness with God as we go about the things we do in public. 

Jesus’ experience with the hostile crowd points to the fundamental fact that man, God’s spiritual image, is inseparable from Him, omnipotent Spirit. And as God’s offspring—which is the genuine identity of each of us—man also continuously reflects the Father’s love. As a verse from the Old Testament promises, “The beloved of the Lord shall dwell in safety by him; and the Lord shall cover him all the day long, and he shall dwell between his shoulders” (Deuteronomy 33:12). What a beautiful truth this is, so reassuring to hold to wherever we happen to be.

Christian Science shows us that the real man is spiritual, not material—not bound by circumstances or at the mercy of human events. God’s man is blessed with unceasing support and protection. He exists at the standpoint of perfect, uninvadable harmony. And man is never, not even for one moment, deprived of his Father’s all-loving care and presence. But to prove that these spiritual facts are practical, we have to open our thought to them, claim this divine heritage, and express its implications in Christian living. 

And when it comes to thinking about those who surround us every day, the teachings of Christian Science encourage us to adopt Jesus’ point of view. And what is that? As Mary Baker Eddy points out in Science and Health with Key to the Scriptures, “Jesus beheld in Science the perfect man, who appeared to him where sinning mortal man appears to mortals” (pp. 476–477). There is in reality—in God’s universe—only God’s man to see. And to stay in God’s presence is to regard all those we encounter as His perfect, spiritual, unsinning man. To think otherwise is to believe ourselves and others to be outside of our loving Father’s allness and control. And this is not a very safe place to be mentally. I’ve learned through my study of Christian Science the importance of not looking on my fellow beings as either potential victims of crime or potential perpetrators of wrongdoing.

This isn’t to suggest that we can blithely go about our daily activities, unmindful of circumstances that would threaten our well-being. We need to listen for God’s direction right through the day and obey God’s guidance in every aspect of our lives. 

For centuries individuals have turned to God for protection, and have found it through knowing Him and trusting in His care. Some Bible figures, we are told, even “walked with God” (see Genesis 5:22, 6:9). The very expression implies something done on a regular basis, and it conveys to me a beautifully natural sense of security and oneness with God.

But walking with God implies much more than just turning to God in moments of danger. It is knowing God as the ever-present and all-powerful Father-Mother who continuously loves and guides, nurtures and sustains, His children. It means companioning with Him.

These safety-promoting qualities are ours always, wherever we are.

Walking with God also involves listening for His directing in everything we do, and then following. The book of Proverbs, speaking of the wisdom of God, assures us, “Whoso hearkeneth unto me shall dwell safely, and shall be quiet from fear of evil” (1:33). Relying on God to guide us through our activities, we move away from the thought that chance or luck rules our life. And in listening for divine guidance, we actually discern God’s inspiring messages—His angels, as the Scriptures and Christian Science call them—with us, steering and accompanying our actions.

It’s comforting to know that the Father is guiding us in discerning what to do and not do. Why can we recognize His voice? Because, again, all of us in reality are God’s children, His offspring. The wisdom, judgment, and spiritual perception we need for daily living are qualities that God, all-knowing Mind, possesses, and you and I have them through divine reflection. Thus, these safety-promoting qualities are ours always, wherever we are.

As we yield to the reality that we abide in God, divine Love, we avail ourselves of the constant support of our dear Father throughout the day and night. Claiming this God-given dominion enables us to fulfill our responsibilities with confidence, freedom, and fearlessness.

The practical understanding of our always being in God’s presence, which is brought out by the teachings of divine Science, is available to anyone. Such knowledge equips each of us to conduct our life without inhibiting fear and uncertainty. And this enables us to be aware of and experience God’s constant ever-presence and protecting care.

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