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When You're Afraid

(Written especially for young people)

PROBABLY everybody has been afraid sometime. When I'm scared, I pray. I know that if I turn to God, He will help me. How? Sometimes I just stop feeling scared and feel calm and peaceful instead. Sometimes I get an idea about what to do. Sometimes a scary situation just dissolves--people who were yelling and looked as though they might start fighting, suddenly cool off.

To me, the best explanation of how God protects us when we are afraid is in Psalm 91 in the Bible. The people in Bible times were just as troubled by violence as we are. This particular psalm talks about dangers that seem to be all around us, but it doesn't stop there--it promises us God's help. In one place it says, ``There shall no evil befall thee, neither shall any plague come nigh thy dwelling. For he shall give his angels charge over thee, to keep thee in all thy ways."

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That's a pretty big promise. And if angels were material beings with feathers, it would be hard for them to keep track of everybody. But they aren't. Angels are ideas from God, messages from Him to us. God knows us as His children, so it's natural for Him to send us ideas that will help us and keep us safe. He's just being a good Father!

When you're afraid, and suddenly feel OK, it may be because you're feeling a message from God that says, ``I love you." It's something you can count on because God's love never runs out. He just keeps loving you, your mom and dad, and everyone. He never gets angry at us. He never leaves us to struggle on our own. That means He'll help us even if we've done something stupid.

The first thing we need to do when we're scared is to pray to hear His angel messages. His thoughts, or angels, are always coming to us, but sometimes fear seems to keep us from listening to them. Prayer is a great way to listen because you can pray no matter where you are or what is going on around you. When you're going through the halls at school, having lunch, or sitting in class, you can pray to feel God's presence.

Prayer isn't a big speech, and it doesn't have to take a lot of time. My shortest prayer has been ``Help!" Others have been longer. The main thing is to turn to God with your whole heart and mind and ask Him to help you. You don't even have to speak aloud. As Mary Baker Eddy, who discovered Christian Science, writes in her book called Science and Health with Key to the Scriptures, ``Thoughts unspoken are not unknown to the divine Mind."

The divine Mind is God. God isn't a big old bearded man looking down from a cloud. Instead, He is Spirit and He is everywhere. This means there isn't any place where His help can't reach you. Christ Jesus, who taught us that we are God's spiritual children, trusted God. And God never let him down.

Since God is Mind, He is totally intelligent. That means that the angels He sends to you aren't going to tell you to do something stupid. In fact, that same Psalm says of God's angels: ``They shall bear thee up in their hands, lest thou dash thy foot against a stone." This shows just how deep God's love for us is, and how He takes care of every single detail if we let Him.

If you have to walk down a dark alley on the way home, you can pray to feel that God is there with you--because He is. If you need to go past some tough kids, you aren't alone, because God is with you. No matter why you feel scared or alone, God loves you and He won't leave you. And since He is everywhere, you can't leave Him. Right this minute He has messages of love that are meant just for you. He sends them to protect you.

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