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Finding safety anywhere

From the Christian Science Sentinel - June 1, 2005

Originally appeared on

I live in Los Angeles and spend a fair amount of time on the highways. So I’ve given a lot of thought to safe travel. And I’ve found that, just like happiness or honesty, safety is essentially a state of thought. That’s why I pray about it—regularly. Prayer tends to lift away any fears or distractions that would keep me from perceiving God’s guidance and protection. Prayer puts me in that safe place where I can experience God’s care.

That place is described in a psalm, which has been attributed to David. A warrior and king, David clearly knew what it was like to be in danger. There were people who were actually out to kill him! But instead of focusing on fear, the psalm centers on God’s love for us, saying, “He that dwelleth in the secret place of the most High shall abide under the shadow of the Almighty” (Ps 91:1).

I take David to be an authority, one who wrote from experience. And my own experience has shown me that his idea is reliable. No matter where I am, there’s a place I can enter and find protection from any trouble.

One of the best things about this “secret place” is that it’s available under any physical circumstance—the streets of LA or Baghdad, the halls at work or school, the sickbed. This “place” is spiritual. By taking our thought there, we can literally feel God’s presence.

I’m still trying to understand this better. But I find that getting there is more a matter of discipline than it is of anything else.

Here's an example: once, a group of us was riding in a car. I was in the back seat behind the driver. We were all chatting away—about what exactly, I can’t remember. But I do recall beginning to think our conversation wasn’t very constructive. And I thought this wasn’t a right way for me to be thinking and talking about others.

I remember breaking away from the conversation, sitting back and turning to look out the window to reflect and pray.

I noticed a car approaching the intersection we were heading toward. The other driver was supposed to stop, but I had the feeling he wasn’t going to. I suggested to my friend, who was driving, that he watch out for the other car. My friend practically stopped. The other car flew through the intersection just in front of us.

That incident was so instructive about finding safety, because we not only avoided a possible accident, but the entire tone of the conversation became much more positive after that.

This illustrated that if I’m expecting to experience safety, and to have safe encounters with others, I need to be disciplined in acknowledging the good around me.

Moving in the direction of seeing what God has done—and is doing—takes a conscious decision, such as withdrawing from an unhelpful conversation, but I’m convinced that this is important in finding safety.

Mary Baker Eddy, the Discoverer of Christian Science, discussed this mental journey. She wrote, “The ‘secret place,’ whereof David sang, is unquestionably man’s spiritual state in God’s own image and likeness, even the inner sanctuary of divine Science, in which mortals do not enter without a struggle or sharp experience, and in which they put off the human for the divine.”

Acknowledging God’s presence and seeing those around me more as God’s own likeness is actively living spirituality. The willingness to look past the physical circumstances and acknowledge what’s happening on a spiritual level enables us to see the truth of God expressing Himself through everyone.

And we see practical evidence that our goodness and safety are intact everywhere.

Science and Health
494:15-19 Jesus

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