WELL, how about being on a narrow steel beam with nothing to hold on to, fifty or sixty stories above the ground? Wouldn't that be a good reason for fear? It surely might seem so to you or me! But I recall watching some ironworkers putting up a new building in Boston a few years ago. As the girders went up, you couldn't help being in awe of what those tiny figures were accomplishing up there on the narrow beams. Even on a blustery winter day they would move around with no rope, no net, nothing to hold on to.
How often our fears come with ``good reasons'' attached. But we can begin to learn, as in this example of the ironworkers, that fear isn't actually the simple product of the situation being faced. It arises because we participate in agreeing that the circumstances constitute a good reason for feeling fear.
When we think about it, we see that examples are numerous. I have a friend who, because of an experience some years ago, felt she had reason to be afraid of speaking, or even standing, in front of groups. Her recurring fear was so intense it sometimes resulted in her losing consciousness. But through the help of Christian Science something entirely new happened. The circumstances she had once been sure were a reason for anxiety became an opportunity she wouldn't want to miss to express her love.
Much more was involved than trying to substitute one mental attitude for another. Her growing spiritual understanding of divine Love's thoroughgoing presence in every situation took away the fear. A Bible verse that meant much to her was one from Isaiah describing God's promise: ``Thou wilt keep him in perfect peace, whose mind is stayed on thee.''1
There is a rule about fear in the Christian Science textbook, Science and Health with Key to the Scriptures by Mary Baker Eddy.2 It says that every Christian Science treatment -- that is, specific healing prayer -- should begin with obedience to Christ Jesus' command ``Be not afraid.''3
In attempting persistently to be obedient to this rule, many have found they have done better than they imagined they could. Fear isn't irresistible, after all. And this has been proved even in severe emergencies and life-threatening circumstances by those who were willing to turn to God's substantial presence and His governing law, instead of taking at face value the situation they seemed to be in. Since fear is a basic element of the false mentality that would ignore God's allness, when fear goes a lot goes with it. Often health improves, and ``impossible situations'' may seem much less impossible.