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How Should We Respond to a Crisis?

THE call for help came while I was in the middle of my daughter's field trip. The need was very urgent and yet I couldn't just leave all the children. As I reached out to God in prayer, I felt as though I had switched into a "crisis mentality,'' because the situation was so serious. It seemed impossible to continue to feel the joy and appreciation of the youngsters' lively doings that I'd had only moments before. But then the thought occurred to me, "What is your job in this situation? How can you be of real help?'' I knew that my job was to pray, to bear witness steadfastly to the omnipotence of God and to His infinite love and care for the one who had asked me for prayerful help. The tension and fear dropped away, and I was able to continue praying right in the middle of the field trip. In fact, the children's joy reminded me of the certainty of spiritual joy and harmony for God's entire creation. This re cognition was a turning point, and harmony and health were soon restored to the one in need.

How did Christ Jesus respond in a crisis? The Gospels reveal that Jesus was utterly calm when faced with potentially disastrous circumstances. For example, Mark's Gospel records that when a storm threatened to destroy the boat he and his disciples were in, he was sound asleep in the back of the boat. When the disciples roused Jesus in alarm, he remained calm, and with spiritual authority he ordered "Peace, be still.'' The storm ceased immediately.

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In Science and Health with Key to the Scriptures, Mary Baker Eddy, the Discoverer and Founder of Christian Science, explains how to meet a crisis through the recognition of God's allness and perfection. Mrs. Eddy makes clear that the healer must calm the excitement occasioned by the crisis and then, she writes, "Insist vehemently on the great fact which covers the whole ground, that God, Spirit, is all, and that there is none beside Him.''

It is this fact of God's allness that allows us to respond with assurance in a crisis. Since God is All and He is good, then good must be the only reality. There can be no evil in God's loving government of His universe. To the degree that we come to understand this spiritual reality as indeed the real governing factor, we can see the effects of God's law throughout our lives.

But how do we gain or maintain this trust in God's allness? We do it by learning to see with spiritual sense. Mrs. Eddy explains in Science and Health: "Spiritual sense is a conscious, constant capacity to understand God.'' Each of God's children 209>each of us 209>has this spiritual capacity for discerning good, right where evil's mistaken or distorted view appears to the physical senses. This spiritual sense is based on the fact that God is All and His entire creation is His perfect expression. The Bible assures us of this.

Spiritual sense is what makes us receptive to the messages God is communicating. Listening to God enables us to respond with calm and assurance in difficult situations. And such calm allows us to pray effectively to bring healing.

The way I responded to the call for help during the field trip isn't a formula for all urgent situations 209>there are certainly times when I stop what I'm doing in order to give the help needed. But the lesson of not slipping into a fearful mental state of joyless concern is one that can be brought to bear in every crisis situation. We can refuse to be paralyzed with fear in times of urgent need. And we can rejoice in the certainty of God's care for all. This certainty can initiate healing in any crisis we face.

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