The recent reports of the fires in California bring back memories of the High Park fire that raged through northern Colorado in June of 2012. My house wasn’t in the fire zone, but the soot and smoke that hung heavily in the air for weeks was an ongoing reminder that diligent prayer was needed.
During that time, a friend called to say that she and her husband had been evacuated from the fire zone. The mountain house her family had built many years previously was at risk. My heart went out to her, as it does to those facing the same difficult situation in California.
Most of us see our house as providing shelter and safety—strong windows, walls, and roof. We see it as our safe place to be. If one’s house is lost, it can feel like the comfort and safety that go with it are lost, too. That can be daunting for anyone. However, I’ve found in my study of Christian Science that we each have a permanent safe place that can never be taken away from us. Prayer can help us understand that refuge and feel the conviction of its sheltering presence for everyone.
As I prayed during the Colorado fires, just like I’m praying today, I turned to the Bible to find a deeper understanding of the home where we each dwell safely and eternally as God’s loved children. The book of John says that God is Spirit. And Psalm 90 says that God, Spirit, is “our dwelling place in all generations…even from everlasting to everlasting, thou art God.”
What does it mean that Spirit is our dwelling place? It means, that safety, love, comfort, and all of the other spiritual qualities our houses represent are tangibly present now. This fact might seem difficult to grasp in the face of devastation, but there is power behind the prayer that reveals that every individual is living in “the secret place of the most High.” (See Ps. 91.)
A good example from the Bible is found in the book of 1 Kings. Elijah is fleeing for his life from queen Jezebel. He finds himself in the wilderness scared and without any creature comforts. He had given up and was sleeping under a juniper tree, when the thought came to him to arise and eat. There before him was “a cake baken on the coals, and a cruse of water” (I Kings 19:6.) Elijah couldn’t see any hope, was completely alone, and everything had been taken from him. But right there, was God’s provision.
Those who have lost their homes may feel they’re also in a kind of wilderness. In her textbook on Christian Science, Mary Baker Eddy defines wilderness as, “Loneliness; doubt; darkness.” But she also defines the way out of the wilderness when she includes in the same definition, “Spontaneity of thought and idea; the vestibule in which a material sense of things disappears, and spiritual sense unfolds the great facts of existence” (Science and Health with Key to the Scriptures, p. 597).
The great fact that God, divine Mind, is our creator, and that we are reflected forever in that Mind as His loved spiritual idea, enables us not only to feel safe but also be safe under all circumstances. We may not tangibly be aware of it every moment, but God’s provision for us is sure and always present. We can never be separated from the source of all good, the very God that created us. His calm, grace, and comfort are as ever-present as He is.
A week or two later, my friend’s neighbor was escorted back into their neighborhood. He brought back the good news that her house was intact, and also the two trees in her front yard, and the hammock still gently swinging in between them.
Yes, we were happy to know her house was untouched by the fire. But, just as important, we rejoiced to know more about the truth that each one of us has a spiritual dwelling place and a spiritual identity that can’t be touched by flames or any other destruction. This is a law that governs all of us no matter how challenging our circumstances seem to be. God is ever-present. All of us dwell in Him safely, comfortably, and eternally.
Other thoughts on home:
By Mary Baker Eddy:
Science and Health, p. 58
Science and Health, p. 254
I hope these insights will inspire readers to think more spiritually about themselves and the world around them!