Last spring a friend was moving from Wisconsin to Arizona, and I agreed to help her drive. It was a road trip to remember as we motored west in a big moving truck with her car on a trailer behind. We had little experience driving such a rig, so our motto became “Always forward!”
Whether I’m driving cross-country, traveling in a foreign country, or staying at home, I find great strength, inspiration, and forward mental direction in my study of the Christian Science Bible Lesson. One morning during the trip, I studied this passage from Psalms: “[H]e shall give his angels charge over thee, to keep thee in all thy ways” (91:11).
The idea of God’s angels having “charge” over me was an arresting idea and one that applied to our trip. Mary Baker Eddy, the founder of Christian Science, described angels in this way: “Angels are not etherealized human beings, evolving animal qualities in their wings; but they are celestial visitants, flying on spiritual, not material, pinions. Angels are pure thoughts from God …” (“Science and Health with Key to the Scriptures,” p. 298). I felt myself agreeing: Of course God’s angels of comfort and insight are with me wherever I go.
This nugget of inspiration was needed as my friend and I were on the road. As we drove along, the radio reported that tornadoes had been leveling many cities and towns along our route.
Later that afternoon, when we stopped at a gas station to fill the tank, the tornado sirens went off and folks from all over the area swarmed to the station. We jostled into the walk-in cooler, the securest structure on site. As we huddled, the storm grew louder.
At first my thoughts recalled a radio report of a similar situation a few days before. I was actually thinking, Could this be the end for us?
But then I remembered the scriptural promise from that morning – God’s angels had “charge” over me, over the situation, and over everything. This brought a mental peace despite the outside storm.
In the Bible, the burning bush was a symbol to Moses of inner peace; it was on fire but “not consumed.” This clarity of thought helped Moses respond to God’s call to lead the Israelites out of slavery.
These days we don’t come across many burning bushes, but it’s easy to be consumed by news reports, other people’s opinions, and our own fears. Praying or listening to “angel messages” brings God into the equation or, better yet, dissolves fear by knowing that no one is outside God’s perpetual care. Looking to God in times of need is not foolish but totally reliable because it puts God in the driver’s seat.
As I recalled the words from Psalms, I felt I had a spiritual anchor. I looked around the walk-in cooler. I was grateful for the man who gave me a blanket to stay warm, the woman who was sharing weather updates that she received by text message, people’s humor, and unconditional love. I could see other people acting with their best selves, showing goodness and unselfishness to complete strangers.
After 40 minutes, the storm passed, and we were all able to return to our cars. You can imagine we were relieved to find the moving truck, my friend’s car, and her belongings all in place, without any damage.
That experience has revitalized my concept of God. At times, I’d thought that loving God was a stagnant or abstract thing. Now I can see that trust in God brings safety, clarity, hope, and endurance in perilous moments.
As you journey home this winter holiday, be open to feeling the divine presence of God’s angels advocating for you and guiding you in tangible ways.
Originally published in the The Christian Science Monitor, December 21, 2011.