My hotel in Quebec is nestled inside thick stone walls that encircle much of the old city. Inhabitants once relied on walls, a citadel, and other structures to protect them against invasion. Lodged behind these barriers and situated on the highest ground, a city could be defended more easily. An invading force might think twice about launching an attack against such formidable defenses.
Yet, physical walls are an imperfect defense - they can be broken down or scaled. There's another, more trustworthy type of protection that can't be invaded, a wall that can't be breached. This protection is the indestructible unity we have with God as His children. Understanding our inseparability from God, we can begin to prove that He is present and almighty - even when we're faced with dangerous circumstances.
God is never powerless to help you when you're confronted by crime or aggression. That's because God is good and is actually all the power there is. Crime and other forms of evil have no real power - no source in God and no authority derived from Him. Nor is evil of any kind actually a person or a thing. It's just a lie. It can't separate you from your safety in God's care - can't make you its victim.
A number of years ago, I found the protection that comes from loving and trusting God. I was a volunteer helping to shelter women and children who had left violent homes. And I had begun reading a book called "Science and Health with Key to the Scriptures," which was first published in 1875 by Mary Baker Eddy. Its ideas gave me new insight about the permanent relationship each individual has with God, with all-powerful good.
I began each day by thanking God in advance for His protecting care for the families we were helping, the spouses whose behavior had been violent, and myself. I reasoned that helping others through this volunteer work was a way of expressing the love of God, and that none of us involved in this service could lack God's direction and support. As I went about my sometimes-very-challenging daily activities, I turned to God often, and found reassurance and direction. One of my favorite verses from the Bible was Isaiah's promise "Thou wilt keep him in perfect peace, whose mind is stayed on thee: because he trusteth in thee" (26:3).
One evening at work, I suddenly felt impelled to lock the door. This was something I hadn't done before. But a few minutes later, a man knocked loudly, angrily asking for his wife and threatening us. He left only after police spoke to him. Late that night, another volunteer and I were driving home along a lonely stretch of road when the same man began to pursue us in his car. He attempted to force us off the road.
Far from any human help, I mentally raced to God in prayer. And I began praying aloud the Lord's Prayer, which begins, "Our Father which art in heaven ..." (Matt. 6:9-13). "Our Father" includes everyone. But it was difficult to believe that this man, who seemed so intent on harming us, was actually God's son. I asked myself over and over again where I might find a police station, or what the man would do if we stopped.
Still, I struggled to accept that each of us was at that very moment governed by God, and therefore safe from harm. Violence is foreign to God, who is perfect Love - and to us as His expression. Despite all appearances to the contrary, it isn't real power, because God is the only actual power
As we approached a red light at a highway intersection, fear gripped me. But what happened next illustrated for me the power of prayer. A deep conviction of God's control flooded my thought. It broke my fear. I could see that this man actually was the child of our Father and Mother God - that he had no other genuine identity. He was my brother! So, from whom or what was I running?
I stopped the car at the red light. He drove up beside us - and then continued on, without harming anyone. And never again was I followed or threatened.
Do we have to live behind thick walls to be safe? No. We are always protected in our real identity as God's children. Understanding this identity, we find we can be safe wherever we are.