We live in Love, not fear

I remember distinctly the night when, as a little boy, I finally confronted the monster in the closet. Well, it wasn’t a real monster, just the fear of one. For several nights I had lain awake picturing one of those scary creatures from the popular children’s book Where the Wild Things Are, by Maurice Sendak, creeping out of the shadowy, half-open closet at the foot of my bed.

Then, one night I decided to stand up to the fear, using the ideas I had been learning in Sunday School. I figured that because God is completely good, and He made everything that is real, then monsters don’t really exist—not even pretend ones. I knew, by this logic, there wasn’t really anything in the closet, but I was still afraid. 

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Then it hit me—since there wasn’t anything to be afraid of, there was no reason for fear to continue. And I felt something wonderful: the tangible presence of God’s love all around me. I got up, went to the closet, and shut the door on that fear forever.

One night, I recalled Mary Baker Eddy’s frequent emphasis on the importance of casting out fear when giving Christian Science treatment. 

I’ll never forget that early lesson in the power of divine Love. Though it wasn’t a final triumph over all feelings of fear, it taught me the falsity of fear—its utter unreality, being without basis, origin, or influence.

Part of that lesson has been learning to be alert to the subtle ways in which fear might enter our thinking. Anger, hatred, criticism, resentment, worry, depression, self-doubt, even illness, would open the door of thought for fear to sneak in. Any negative or vulnerable thinking about our present condition or some ominous future possibility would try to justify a basis for fear. We might even come to feel that fear is useful as a kind of defense mechanism against putting ourselves in harm’s way. 

But in truth, fear has no reason for being, no purpose, and no place or power. It stems from the false suggestion that we’re subject to a power outside of God’s control. In truth, though, there is nothing outside of God’s control; there’s nothing to harm, invade, or disturb Love’s complete care for each one of us—His precious sons and daughters.

However, if fear appears to take hold in our thought, under whatever disguise or false reasoning, it can always be exposed and expelled by gaining a stronger trust in God. Fear fades as we gain a firmer conviction of the supremacy of Love’s harmonious government over every action, influence, and outcome of our being. Humbly accepting the fact that we actually live, right now, within the purity, peace, and protection of God, we feel immersed in the atmosphere of divine Love, where fear cannot appear. As the Bible tells us, “There is no fear in love; but perfect love casteth out fear” (I John 4:18).

Overcoming fear in this way can often be key to effective physical and moral healing in Christian Science practice. Throughout her writings Mary Baker Eddy exposes a subtle but important mental connection between fear, disease, and sin. She explains in Science and Health with Key to the Scriptures: “Fear, which is an element of all disease, must be cast out to readjust the balance for God. Casting out evil and fear enables truth to outweigh error. The only course is to take antagonistic grounds against all that is opposed to the health, holiness, and harmony of man, God’s image” (p. 392).

Several years ago, this and similar ideas helped heal an alarming physical condition. One night I woke up at about 2 a.m., exhausted, out of breath, with sharp pain through my head and chest. This became a pattern that went on for several months, with pain and discomfort sometimes appearing in my arms and legs and coming back during the day. 

Fear ye not, neither be afraid: have not I told thee from that time, and have declared it? ye are even my witnesses. Is there a God beside me? yea, there is no God; I know not any.
Isaiah 44:8

I became very fearful, even to the point of fearing death. Still, each night when I awoke and prayed to heal the physical challenges, I did not think to specifically address the fear, but dismissed it as a normal, understandable reaction to the pain and discomfort. 

Then one night, I recalled Mary Baker Eddy’s frequent emphasis on the importance of casting out fear when giving Christian Science treatment. She writes, “Christian Science declares that sickness is a belief, a latent fear, made manifest on the body in different forms of fear or disease.” And she continues, “This fear is formed unconsciously in the silent thought, as when you awaken from sleep and feel ill, experiencing the effect of a fear whose existence you do not realize; but if you fall asleep, actually conscious of the truth of Christian Science,—namely, that man’s harmony is no more to be invaded than the rhythm of the universe,—you cannot awake in fear or suffering of any sort” (Retrospection and Introspection, p. 61).

The turning point came when I stopped accepting fear as a normal effect of the illness and realized that I needed to stand up to it, not with bravado or a sense of battling it as though it were a power opposed to God, but with a calm confidence in the fact that God’s love was, and always is, with me, establishing and maintaining the wholeness of my being. Nothing could contradict that fact. Certainly there is no opposition to omnipotent Love!

I’m learning to put fear in its place—to see it has no place. 

Soon I felt a warm, tender awareness of God’s love embracing me—like a little child being comforted in his mother’s arms. It came with a conviction that we are always spiritually at one with God, and She with us—and that we are never separated from Her love. All fear and pain vanished instantly. I fell asleep with a deep inner peace. 

The next morning I woke without pain, feeling fresh and healthy. Over the next few nights the pain continued to a lesser degree. But each time, I quickly rejected the fear and affirmed that God maintains me and all His creation in perfect health. Each time the pain left instantly when the fear was gone. Soon all pain and fear left for good.

As with that childhood victory over “the monster in the closet,” I’m learning to put fear in its place—to see it has no place. And to know and trust that we live, right now and always, in the presence, in the very atmosphere, of Love.

How to stop a war
February 23, 2015

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