DO you know the feeling you get when you find out you're on the wrong bus? That happened to me once, some years ago, and at first my heart sank. But the trip taught me an important lesson, so I guess you could say it turned out to be the right bus after all! I learned, when I turned my thought to God in prayer, that He never takes us in the wrong direction. And because God, the one Mind, is our Father-Mother, Love, we can always trust Him and let His guidance have priority.
Here's what happened that day. I worked in Washington, D.C., and lived in suburban Virginia. It had been a hectic workday, as well as dreary and rainy. As I got to my regular bus stop, all buses were standing room only, so I decided to keep walking downtown to where the buses originate to be sure of a seat.
As I walked, I thought about a favorite Bible passage from Joshua, in the Old Testament. ``Be strong and of a good courage; be not afraid, neither be thou dismayed: for the Lord thy God is with thee whithersoever thou goest'' (1:9).
A bus pulled up as I got to the depot, and I ran to board it. But after we crossed the bridge into Virginia, the bus turned to go the long way around. I was horrified! My seatmate said, confirming my fears, ``But didn't you see the driver roll up the sign for Lee Highway?'' Getting home now, even after I transferred to a bus heading back to my regular route, would take much longer than usual. I felt demoralized and stupid! And my sister would worry when I didn't show up on time.
I had with me a copy of Science and Health with Key to the Scriptures, written by Mary Baker Eddy, Discoverer and Founder of Christian Science. I took it out to read, hoping that its insights into the Bible would help me pray. As I read, I could see that God really was with me all the time, as the verse from Joshua assured me. So I could turn to God, to divine Mind, to know exactly what to do. And God's direction isn't random or accidental, but is unerring and harmonious.
I felt deeply convinced of the Truth that God was governing not only me but everybody going home that night! I clearly saw much to be learned from this journey. It needed to be a journey out of uncertainty and panic into a calm sense that everywhere we go, we are going God's way. God fills all space. He is in control. And His is the only way.
What I really needed to do was pray for myself, to quiet my own anxiety about my sister. She, too, I knew, was God's harmonious child, undisturbed, trustful of His loving care for all. God's reassurance was with her, even as it was with me.
The bus driver let me off at a transfer point. A store nearby had public telephones, so I could easily call my sister to let her know I'd be late. She told me that she had begun to worry, but suddenly she knew that I was OK, just stuck on a bus somewhere. Another half-hour's ride and I was home without further incident.
Later I learned that my regular bus had narrowly avoided being involved in an accident. But the driver had been alert and had been able to swerve the bus out of the errant vehicle's way in time. I silently thanked God who hears and answers all earnest prayers. It was further proof to me that when we are persistent in holding to the truth that we live in God's spiritual universe, where all is harmonious and God-directed, we see the results of those prayers in practical ways!
Christ Jesus, our Way-shower, taught us that we can claim dominion over any circumstance, however large or small, when he said, ``If ye continue in my word, then are ye my disciples indeed; and ye shall know the truth, and the truth shall make you free'' (John 8:31, 32).
Knowing the truth not only makes us free, it also, as I saw that day, helps to protect others from harm. In her book, The First Church of Christ, Scientist, and Miscellany, Mrs. Eddy explains: ``Good thoughts are an impervious armor; clad therewith you are completely shielded from the attacks of error of every sort. And not only yourselves are safe, but all whom your thoughts rest upon are thereby benefited'' (p. 210).