Guided by God, led to safety
The Bible contains numerous examples of individuals who faced severe challenges and received the needed help and protection when they reached out to God and His sustaining power. Inspiring accounts of David’s encounter with Goliath, the three young Hebrew captives in the fiery furnace, and Daniel in the lions’ den, among others, attest to God’s omnipresence and omnipotence.
Today, we can confidently experience the same eternal, outstretched arms of God, divine Love, tenderly enfolding and accompanying us. As we learn to wholeheartedly trust God and acknowledge His allness, we come to understand that God not only protects us from harm but also gives us a fuller understanding of Him, which destroys the fear that something or someone could harm us.
My husband and I had an experience that required us to look beyond what appeared to be a frightening situation and to see God’s guiding presence and protecting power. We were working in a country that was experiencing unprecedented violent crime and racial strife. Soon after our arrival, we were required to attend an evening event in a neighboring city. We started out in daylight, but by the time we neared the city, it was almost dark. We didn’t have a map, and this being before GPS and cellphones, we became lost.
A highway that we took by mistake led us away from the city. We knew that the volatile countryside was considered off-limits, and we became fearful. It was impossible to just turn around, and we hesitated to take a random exit, not knowing where it might lead. It was too dark to see beyond our car’s headlights, and with no idea where we were, I felt vulnerable and helpless.
At that point, I stopped trying to figure out a solution and turned to God in prayer. When I need to understand what next step to take, I often pray with a Bible passage that has always provided a sense of peace with its promise that we can rely on God’s loving care to resolve whatever situation needs correction. It says, “Humble yourselves therefore under the mighty hand of God,… casting all your care upon him; for he careth for you” (I Peter 5:6, 7).
Rather than feeling that I needed to try to fix the situation, I began to feel assured that we are always safe and guided by God.
As I prayed to be guided in my prayers, I felt strongly that instead of praying just for my husband and me, I needed to see that only universal love and brotherhood could influence anyone. When media reports of racial violence and mayhem came to thought, instead of feeling horrified or fearful, I refuted the notion that anyone could be either a victim or a perpetrator of fear, hatred, or violence. And I affirmed that our Father-Mother God, the only Mind, was present and governing everyone with tender love.
The Bible informs us, “Thou wilt keep him in perfect peace, whose mind is stayed on thee: because he trusteth in thee” (Isaiah 26:3). I expressed gratitude that divine Love was right there with us, and with everyone, and that I could trust Love to sustain us all in “perfect peace.” My prayers led me to view this experience as both a demand and an opportunity to see beyond what fearful human thought might assess as a potentially dangerous situation, to a clearer perception of what God knew.
Mary Baker Eddy, the Discoverer and Founder of Christian Science, writes, “We must look deep into realism instead of accepting only the outward sense of things” (Science and Health with Key to the Scriptures, p. 129). I saw that I needed to refuse to contemplate a scenario resulting from being lost in a potentially unsafe environment and instead see my experience as God knows it to be—always safe and harmonious. This prayer quieted my thought. Rather than feeling that I needed to try to fix the situation, I began to feel assured that we are always safe and guided by God. Affirming God’s complete control of the events enabled me to trust His loving resolution of the situation.
After we had driven a long while, the lights of the city disappeared behind us. We felt an increasing need to find a way to turn around, as we were headed deeper into the countryside. Each time we approached an exit, I asked God to tell me if we should take it. We passed numerous exits, but I never felt impelled to take them. At last, I saw an exit that I felt we should take, even though it was too dark to see what lay beyond it. We were grateful to find that it led to a brightly lit gas station, not visible from the highway, where a police officer was sitting in his car.
When the officer saw us, he scolded us for being in that area, as armed fighting had broken out in surrounding villages. He was also quite puzzled how we knew to take the only exit that was momentarily peaceful. We gave heartfelt thanks to God, who had guided us to that exit. Upon reporting our presence to his headquarters, the officer was ordered to escort us on the twenty-mile drive back to the city and on to our original destination.
A hymn in the Christian Science Hymnal describes how we felt about this experience: “Assured and safe in Love’s protection, / Great peace have they, and unsought joy” (William P. McKenzie, No. 381). Clearly, we had been “assured and safe.” But, the “unsought joy” that still remains long after this experience came from praying to better see everyone as the loved and loving child of God.