School threats and prayer
Originally written for the Christian Science Sentinel
What do you do when you learn that both of your children's schools have received bomb threats - and that classes will be held anyway? For one mother, the choice involved trusting God.
I was at work when I learned that bombs might go off the next day - one at the middle school my daughter Jessica attended, and one at my daughter Casey's high school.
I made a special effort to listen closely to God. After I'd waited patiently, the 91st Psalm came through to me loud and clear. I knew it was an answer from God. It was not something I had given much attention to in a while.
Line by line, the psalm reminded me to be steadfast in seeing God as protector.
By standing firm in His refuge, we are promised that angels (the guiding thoughts He gives us) will take charge over us and will be there when we need them, to keep us from harm. God promises He will set His love upon us and give us answers in all situations and trouble.
The precious thing to me was how my daughters relied on their own prayers and trusted them to be effective.
Jessica later wrote: "Dad read the 91st Psalm to me and told me to take it with me for the day. There were many precautions that the school took: teachers had to lock their doors, no kids were allowed out of classrooms, and teachers were stationed at different posts to make sure no one did anything unusual. About half of the eighth grade didn't show up for school.
"The bomb was supposed to go off at 3:30 p.m. I was in science class. I knew that my mom and dad were praying, but I also wanted to help the situation. Everyone was watching the clock.
"I wanted to think about the 91st Psalm, but I couldn't remember it. Since I've always loved the 23rd Psalm, I decided to pray with that instead. The part 'Yea, though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I will fear no evil: for thou art with me' came to me and helped me get through the day. It was like I was being shown exactly what I needed to have.... It was so cool, because it was like the psalm was saying, 'I walk through the hallways of school, but I fear no evil.' "
Casey wrote: "I wasn't too worried about the rumored bomb threat, but I did want to be careful. Mom shared the 91st Psalm with me before I left for school.
"Another psalm, which has the verse 'Yea, though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I will fear no evil' came to me. That was helpful, too, because it made me realize that in the kingdom of God there is no place for error, and there is no place for death and destruction.
"I did pray to know that, in fact, everyone is a child of God and that nothing can persuade God's children to do something horrible or something that would hurt someone. That calmed my thought.
"The psalm says that God comforts you. And He does. There is no place in divine Mind for evil to creep in and suggest 'This might happen or that might happen, because it's happening everywhere else.'
"Instead of sitting there at lunch looking for the people who could be the bad type of people, I was looking at everyone and seeing all of them as God's children. From the middle of that lunch period and after, it felt as though something had been lifted from the whole school."
No bombs were found. In the evening I asked the girls about the day. We saw that each one had found comfort in a way that was unique to her.
God and His protective love are available to all of His children. When we pray about our own situation, we are at the same time helping everyone. This brings blessings and healing on a much bigger scale.
Love is our refuge; only with mine eye
Can I behold the snare, the pit, the fall:
His habitation high is here, and nigh,
His arm encircles me, and mine, and all.
Mary Baker Eddy
(c) Copyright 1999. The Christian Science Publishing Society