A Place of Sanctuary
AN empty corner in a shared bedroom, the space under the big desk, the small space beneath the basement stair-well 209&gt;all might be likely places of solitude for children seeking time alone. In these private places, it can be just the child and his own thoughts. Is the adult any different from the child when it comes to the desire for quiet and comfort in what can be a busy, blaring world? There is a place, though, for each of us that is near, to give shelter and comfort. The Bible calls it "the secret place of the most High,'' and it's anyplace where God's love is being expressed.
The full verse, in the ninety-first Psalm, reads, "He that dwelleth in the secret place of the most High shall abide under the shadow of the Almighty.'' Mary Baker Eddy, the Discoverer and Founder of Christian Science, refers to this verse when she points out in Unity of Good, "Man's refuge is in spirituality, 'under the shadow of the Almighty.' ''
When a child grows up, of course, he no longer tucks himself under a desk. Yet, we never outgrow God's love for man. His love is always with us, is always at work. And we can always find sanctuary in it.
This "secret place of the most High,'' this space "under the shadow of the Almighty,'' where God's love is always expressed, is quieter, more comforting, than even the most remote of physical locations. Though this place of God's love is always with us because God, infinite Love, is always with us, we still need to respond to this love of Love in our hearts. But really to feel this love has nothing to do with running to a remote place and hiding. "The secret place'' is not a physical location but a hear tfelt conviction of the nearness of God's care and guiding voice.
Real prayer is not escapism. It's a recognition of the allness of God's love. This understanding lifts us out of any noise or confusion we may have felt, by flooding our thought with the power of God's love.
In this secret place we can find the quiet that is necessary if we are to understand more clearly the truths of God and man. Man is responsive to God, Spirit. This "refuge'' of spirituality is actually man's native place because he is the spiritual offspring of God.
Think of the instances in the Bible when the spiritual quiet of the secret place healed even in the midst of noisy or threatening situations. Christ Jesus, for instance, faced a mob that was angrily calling for a woman taken in adultery to be stoned. His calm, spiritual response not only dispersed her accusers but, John's account seems to be saying, healed the woman of her immoral behavior.
The calmness and strength we find in the secret place can quiet our own mental clamor as well as the rush and fret of the world. Later in the ninety-first Psalm, we are promised freedom from "the noisome pestilence.'' While the word noisome refers literally to something that's injurious, reading it always reminds me of the noises and the confusions that can be more subtle than voices, cars and the like. But the quiet of God's love can lift us from even what seems to be our own mental and emotional noise .
At first it may seem quite difficult to find that quiet, secret place of God's love. But, as we practice seeking it out, we'll learn to find it more quickly, even in the most clamorous of times. We can expect to, since it's man's real home, his natural place, where God and man live in perfect unity.
You can find more articles like this one in the Christian Science Sentinel, a weekly magazine.