Safe from a severe storm

One night, while camping on the North Rim of the Grand Canyon, my mom and I were caught in a ferocious thunderstorm. The intensity was unlike anything we had ever experienced, and we were afraid of trees falling on the tent or the wind blowing the tent down with us inside. Because of our high elevation, it felt like we were deep in the heart of the storm, and there was nowhere we could go. Though we felt trapped and afraid, we realized there was still something we could do: We could pray.

In other situations, when I’ve felt paralyzing fear and turned to God in prayer for help, I’ve always found freedom from the fear. I’ve learned that God, who is Love, is right with us. All we need to do is turn toward and embrace the light of this truth and let it chase away the dark storms of fear. This certainly was a challenge that night, but we both diligently turned to God and prayed.

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It felt like we were deep in the heart of the storm, and there was nowhere we could go. 

These words about God from the Bible came to me: “Thou wilt keep him in perfect peace, whose mind is stayed on thee” (Isaiah 26:3). I asked myself, What is perfect peace? How can I feel it in the middle of this storm? What does it mean to have a mind stayed on God?

I realized that perfect peace is a feeling of utter calm and complete trust that comes from understanding that only good is present because God is All and always with us. God is never off duty. Perfect peace comes from trusting God, not our personal sense of things. It comes from witnessing the harmony of God in ourselves and in our world, because God’s ever-presence means that harmony is ever present.

We can experience this perfect peace by learning more about God and our relation to Him and staying focused on that. This is keeping our mind, our thoughts, “stayed on Thee.” We can mentally turn away from the noise and drama, whether literal or figurative, that paint a picture of something other than God’s goodness. We can turn instead to the reality of good and stick with that.

Right in the middle of that storm, I sang out loud this verse from Hymn 148 in the Christian Science Hymnal: 

In heavenly Love abiding, 
No change my heart shall fear; 
And safe is such confiding, 
For nothing changes here. 
The storm may roar without me, 
My heart may low be laid; 
But God is round about me, 
And can I be dismayed?
(Anna L. Waring, alt.)

I mentally wrapped my mom and me in God’s love and said wholeheartedly, “No, I am not afraid. The storm can roar all around us and without us! God’s loving presence surrounds us completely.”

I knew and felt that God was right there with us. I remembered the concept from the ninety-first Psalm in the Bible about finding shelter and protection under the wing of the Almighty, and I pictured God’s presence as a shield right above us. I acknowledged God as the only power and felt the peace promised in these prayers.

We had been perfectly safe because we’d known God was with us. 

The storm moved on, and the next morning, though our tent was surrounded by deep pools of water and piles of huge branches, we were completely dry and unharmed.

The local residents said there hadn’t been a storm that severe in the area for over a hundred years and expressed great concern that we had been out in it. We assured them that we had been perfectly safe because we’d known God was with us. 

Over the next few days, we saw numerous road washouts and facility closings that were caused by the storm. But we didn’t hear reports of any injuries. We continued to be grateful for the truths and divine protection we felt so strongly that night—for us and for everyone else. Turning to God and understanding His presence and power had chased away our fear and replaced it with a deeper conviction of His strong protection and with perfect, heartfelt peace.

I am wholeheartedly thankful for our Father-Mother God, for the efficacy of prayer, and for the perfect peace that is our natural state and divine right—no matter what.

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