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Dispelling destructive forces

From the Christian Science Sentinel - August 12, 2019

Each year, hurricane season is seen as running from June through November, with September generally anticipated as the most destructive month. Yet, prayer based on an understanding of the all-power of God can help us find a sense of calm in any situation—and experience it.

Growing up and living in an area of high tornado activity in the Midwestern United States, as well as serving in hurricane territory in the Peace Corps, I have had opportunities over the past several years to see firsthand the power of God to bring calm and safety despite the threat of storms. 

In each case, I have found it essential to open my thought spiritually to experience a pervading sense of God’s presence and power.

There is an account in the Bible of Jesus being asleep in a ship when the wind and waves became so stormy they were threatening to sink the vessel (see Mark 4:35–39). After being awakened by his frightened disciples, Jesus uttered the simple, authoritative command, “Peace, be still,” and the drama was silenced. The full passage from the Bible reads, “And he arose, and rebuked the wind, and said unto the sea, Peace, be still. And the wind ceased, and there was a great calm.”  

Pondering and researching the deeper meaning of Christ Jesus being asleep during the storm, I found greater enlightenment in a Bible commentary. I saw that the actions of Jesus brought to light how the spirit of Christ—the divine power by which Jesus so concretely expressed God’s healing love and which was always active in Jesus, even when he was asleep—was dormant in his disciples. While their thoughts needed to be awakened and aroused, they still sensed that their only hope for survival in this moment of difficulty was to call on the divine power to calm their thoughts and fears. So they awakened Jesus, who exemplified the ever-present power and activity of the Christ, which is always accessible.

In a book I read daily in conjunction with the Bible, Science and Health with Key to the Scriptures by Mary Baker Eddy, the Christ is explained in the following way: “Christ is the true idea voicing good, the divine message from God to men speaking to the human consciousness” (p. 332).

With everything that seems to be churned up in the world today, there’s a great need to listen for God’s messages. Whenever we face a threatening condition, we can be calm and steadfast when we feel a conviction of the authority of the Christ-spirit that governed Jesus—and is present with us today.

During my service in the Peace Corps in the West Indies, I had several substantial experiences of feeling this calm and experiencing protection from harm in various situations, including the approach of Hurricane Hugo.

While feeling it wise to take basic precautions against what seemed to be an unstoppable force, I also turned to prayer to gain and maintain a “calm and exalted thought” (Science and Health, p. 506). I knew I could face this threat with the confidence that God’s love and spiritual power were right with me and everyone. I was also able to contact my mother and ask her to pray as well. By this point weather conditions indicated that the storm was within hours of impact.

I felt at peace and remained steadfast in the knowledge that God, divine Love, did not create destructive forces. Just as Christ Jesus was able to remain peacefully at rest in the midst of the storm, I could feel the presence of God’s calming love despite the scene around me. I saw that everyone concerned was truly surrounded by the impenetrable wall of divine Love and could feel this presence in any situation. 

Such stillness enables us to turn thought away from the scary images in front of us—whether at our doorstep or in the news—focus on the spiritual reality, and trust in God’s all-power. 

Within a short time, it was reported that the storm had taken a sudden, sharp turn, missing the islands where I was stationed. Still, my mother and I kept praying to affirm and acknowledge God’s loving and wise care for all His children everywhere, whether the storm was diverted or hit ground. 

Finding spiritual stillness keeps thought open and alert to angel messages, direct messages from God that bring order and direction to light, right when it’s needed at every moment. When an understanding of God’s control makes me calm, I can hear those messages. Anyone can experience and feel the peace of Christ. We can hear God’s messages anywhere, put these ideas into practice, and be a calm in the storm, no matter what storms we face in life.  

I love what has been revealed to me through my study as I’ve learned how to pray more effectively to witness the dispelling of the belief of imminent threat—through maintaining a quiet thought that is open to God’s angel messages at all times. 

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