IT was one of those very dark nights. I had just returned home with our two young children, and total darkness seemed to blanket our house and the land around it. As we stood at the back door of the house, I couldn't find the house key. The children thought the whole scene was pretty scary. I did, too!
I guess you could say I had a ``normal" fear of the dark. But in those next few minutes before I found the house key, some ideas came to thought that exchanged my ``normal" fear for a confident fearlessness that has stayed with me ever since.
I asked the children if they remembered who was in the fiery furnace with the three Hebrews Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego. (In this Bible story, found in the book of Daniel, because the three men worshiped the one God and would not bow down before the golden idol built by King Nebuchadnezzar, they were bound and thrown into a fiery furnace.) The Bible tells us that when the king looked into the furnace, he saw not three men but four. He exclaimed, ``I see four men loose, walking in the midst of the fir e, and they have no hurt; and the form of the fourth is like the Son of God."
What was this ``form of the fourth" that was with the three Hebrew men? Jesus had not yet been born, and yet the king saw what he called the Son of God. The Son of God is Christ. Wasn't Nebuchadnezzar seeing the Christ, that divine manifestation of God's love, right there in the furnace, saving the men? And didn't this prove to the king that the one true God is all-powerful and able to care for His creation? Nebuchadnezzar freed the three men and proclaimed that his whole kingdom should worship the one t rue God.
I have come to love the role of the Christ in redeeming and saving humanity. Jesus, the son of Mary, was not just the finest man who ever lived. His life most clearly embodied the Christ-idea. His life was a pivotal point in human history. To him we are eternally grateful. But we can also remember that the Christ-spirit itself has been forever with mankind. It is that manifestation of good which makes clear God's presence and power. Mary Baker Eddy, the Discoverer and Founder of Christian Science, says i n her book Science and Health with Key to the Scriptures, ``Christ is the true idea voicing good, the divine message from God to men speaking to the human consciousness." God always reveals Himself to us in ways we can understand. His Christ comes to save us and help us in whatever way is necessary in our life at the moment.
Standing outside in the dark with the children, I realized that the same Christ, the spirit of Truth and Love, the ``form of the fourth," that had been in the fiery furnace with the young Hebrews was with us right then! Christ is ever present. And that's why we were safe--not because of locks, or lights, or luck. Christ had been with us in our car, too, as we drove home late that night. The Christ is with us everywhere, and we can never be separate from it, because we can never be separate from God's lov e for us.
God's love, and His ability to care for us, are not determined by what time of day it is, or how many other people are around, or what part of town we are in. When we are afraid at night, let's remember the truth that man actually exists safe and secure in divine Mind, as God's spiritual idea. The presence of the Christ is always with us, showing us that divine Love is caring for us.
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