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The Lions' Den

Bringing a spiritual perspective to daily life

It was over twenty years ago that I asked this question. I no longer remember what my particular problem was, but I do remember the answer I received, which has helped me many times since.

I'd been talking with a Christian Science practitioner, someone who prays to heal people of difficulties of all kinds. She said, referring to a Bible story familiar to many, "Think of it this way: Daniel had faith in God, and it didn't keep him out of the lions' den. But it kept him safe when he was in it."

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Safe, even among lions. That was a reassuring and comforting thought for me. I saw her point-that I could never be in any situation where God wasn't already present to take care of me. I looked again at Daniel's story (see Daniel, chap. 6). Certainly it seemed that he had every reason to ask why he had ended up in the lions' den. After all, he had been steadfastly obeying God, faithfully doing what was right. But there is no record of his asking such a question. Instead, Daniel spent the time in that den trusting God to save him. And as the Bible shows, he was completely safe.

Apparently, Daniel's obedience to God was what had caused King Darius to throw him to the lions. But obeying God was also what protected Daniel completely, and it had far-reaching blessings for the entire kingdom.

As I have continued to study the Bible over the years, I have gained a deeper understanding of the spiritual facts behind what that practitioner said to me. She was helping me see through the myth of God as a personal deity who might or might not intervene to help in my affairs. Instead, she was pointing me to the concepts of God as Spirit, as infinite, as ever-present Love-and of my identity as His daughter, inseparable from Him. These concepts were taught and proved true by Jesus Christ. And they are central to God's law, which was discovered by Mary Baker Eddy. She wrote in the textbook of Christian Science, "God is incorporeal, divine, supreme, infinite Mind, Spirit, Soul, Principle, Life, Truth, Love" (Science and Health with Key to the Scriptures, p. 465). Further on we read, "In divine Science, God and the real man are inseparable as divine Principle and idea" (p. 476).

On the basis of this inseparable relation we each have to God, we can be confident that we have ability to deal with whatever is not good in our lives. God is infinite good. Right where we are, God is with us. Nothing can oppose God, and nothing can oppose us when we are obeying Him. Jesus proved this. In troubled situations of every sort, he showed God's goodness to be the only reality, and the evidence of disease, danger, lack of food, sin, and even death vanished.

One morning I was riding the subway out of Manhattan to Brooklyn. An unkempt man got on the train and sat down-halfway into my seat. He leaned against me, breathing heavily but not speaking. I shifted away. He shifted closer. I felt that if I were to get up, he would stop me. Looking around, I realized we were in a virtually empty car.

In the midst of my fear, I turned to God. I remember thinking, "O.K., God, I'm in the lions' den. I have nowhere to run or hide. What do I do now?"

Then I remembered that I had a copy of one of the Christian Science magazines in my briefcase, and I felt impelled to take it out and begin reading it. I obeyed this direction and opened to an article that dealt with healing street violence. As I read, I turned my thought to the article's message that God's love is omnipotent. Letting this message fill my thought, I was able to include the young man in my prayers, knowing that he, too, was a child of God, beloved of God. Quite suddenly, I knew I was safe.

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At one point the man relaxed and slid away into his own seat. His tension and hostility appeared to vanish. A few minutes later the train pulled into a busy station. As I got up to leave, he touched my arm and said, "That's good stuff you're reading." I gave the magazine to him as I left the subway.

Whenever we find ourselves facing a difficult or dangerous situation, we can feel confident that God is all good, always present, the only power. Because this is true, we are entirely safe, in or out of the lions' den.

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