Safe in the storm
How can we feel God’s presence when a severe storm is predicted? The Bible offers some helpful ideas. A psalm tells us, “God is our refuge and strength, a very present help in trouble” (Psalms 46:1). And Proverbs suggests that it is God who “hath gathered the wind in his fists” (30:4) and that there is no force outside of God’s control.
Here’s an example of the protecting and saving effect of understanding this fact: Christ Jesus remained calm when he was in a ship with his disciples during a storm raging on the Galilean Sea. The disciples feared for their lives, but Jesus “rebuked the wind, and said unto the sea, Peace, be still. And the wind ceased, and there was a great calm” (Mark 4:39). Jesus knew God as the only power, the creator of man and the universe—the controlling intelligence or divine Mind that governs all God’s creation. It was this realization that enabled him to not only quiet the violent storm but also prove God’s control over many other discordant conditions, such as disease, sin, and even death.
Years ago, while living on the coast of South Florida, I had an opportunity to perceive God’s care when a hurricane was approaching the region in which we lived, threatening the millions of people in that area, many of whom live in high-rise apartment buildings. My husband and I prayed on the basis taught in Christian Science, and many others were also praying for safety. My husband and I were knowing that God’s power is completely good and is supreme over any supposed destructive force; we knew we could trust that power to be in control of the situation. When the hurricane was just ten miles offshore, it suddenly—some said miraculously—lifted up and never touched land. There was much talk in our area about how prayer had protected us all from danger.
Years later, a more dangerous hurricane (Category 5) was approaching, and many residents either decided to evacuate or were told to do so. We were not required to evacuate, and my husband felt we should stay to face down this threat, for our safety and that of others. During his military career, he’d had many proofs of God’s protecting power through his understanding of Christian Science.
We devoted many hours to spiritually scientific prayer and to study of the Bible and the Christian Science textbook, Science and Health with Key to the Scriptures by Mary Baker Eddy, the Discoverer and Founder of Christian Science. A couple of statements from Science and Health were especially helpful: “The real jurisdiction of the world is in Mind, controlling every effect and recognizing all causation as vested in divine Mind” (p. 379) and the first part of the spiritual definition of the word wind, as it is used in the Bible, given in the Glossary. It reads, “That which indicates the might of omnipotence and the movements of God’s spiritual government, encompassing all things” (p. 597).
We held to the spiritual fact that God is the only power, knowing that we could prove, as Jesus did, that this omnipotence supersedes any claim of an opposite, material so-called power. Spending the night in the hallway of our home, we prayed with Psalm 91, affirming that we were safe “in the secret place of the most High,” where no “plague [could] come nigh [our] dwelling” (verses 1, 10), and cherishing this truth as the spiritual reality for everyone in the expected path of the storm.
At one point during the night we heard a crash, but our home appeared to be still intact. In the morning, we discovered that a very tall tree had been uprooted and had fallen just four inches from our home, which was completely protected except for a few tiles blown off the roof.
Later we learned that the winds had been clocked at 164 miles per hour a few blocks away at the National Hurricane Center and that a 17-foot-high storm surge had flooded many of the low-lying areas. There was much property damage and, regrettably, a few lives were lost. But we were very grateful to see God’s protecting power manifested in the experience of the vast majority of the area’s residents.
My husband felt we should face down this threat, knowing that our safety and that of others was in God’s hands.
One of the blessings that came during the aftermath of the storm was a wonderful new sense of brotherhood among the many diverse cultures in our community. Everywhere, residents seemed eager to help their neighbors and came together to rebuild the community. This spirit of cooperation and unity had not been so evident previously. Also, much gratitude was expressed for the outpouring of love and support that came in from all over the country and beyond. To me, this was also evidence of God’s love.
Our branch Church of Christ, Scientist, was instrumental in raising funds to help other branch churches and fellow Christian Scientists in our area, providing financial assistance for rebuilding and other needs. Our church services continued uninterrupted, and our testimony meetings were filled with expressions of gratitude for protection and for the awareness of God’s love that had sustained us.
Truly, no matter what challenges we face, when we understand that God, divine Love, is the lawmaker in control of His creation, we can experience Love’s ever-presence—comforting, protecting, and holding us all in His care.