An “Even if” protest
Published in the February 27, 2023 issue of the Christian Science Sentinel. Audio here
An “Even if” protest
Prayerful reasoning that begins with “Even if” may be helpful in exposing and putting out fear.
By: Elaina Simpson, C.S.
Have you ever felt stuck in ruminating, fearful thoughts? Fear can sometimes seem like an unbreakable pattern; it can also feel like a turbulent ride you can’t get off of. But through Christian Science, we can find freedom from fear. Praying to overcome fear is something we may need to do daily, but through God we are the master of fear. We don’t have to consent to the belief that we are controlled by a brain or by human or animalistic emotions. God is Spirit, and made His creation (you and me) to reflect Him—to be spiritual. Governed by God rather than circumstances, we can be in control—that is, we can evidence God’s control instead of being anxious or fearful. Knowing our God-given dominion over fear brings healing to our experience.
Fear often appears in some form of “What if” thinking. But that unhealthy thought pattern can be prayerfully interrupted by a loving thought from God. This has often helped me to reverse a “What if” with an “Even if”—to prayerfully protest and replace an unnatural, matter-focused thought pattern with a spiritual truth supplied by God. The Bible says, “Even if you have been banished to the most distant land under the heavens, from there the Lord your God will gather you and bring you back” (Deuteronomy 30:4, New International Version). Even in a worst-case scenario such as that verse describes, God’s saving love is at hand. Although every prayer is unique and inspired, a good place to start is to discern and reverse fear. In Science and Health with Key to the Scriptures, Mary Baker Eddy writes, “We should master fear, instead of cultivating it” (p. 197) and, “If you succeed in wholly removing the fear, your patient is healed” (pp. 411–412). When we are praying for ourselves or others, the fear that needs to be addressed is not always readily apparent. But we don’t need to resign ourselves to the belief that error—the opposite of divine Truth—can go on undetected. Prayer will reveal what we need to know. Prayerful reasoning that begins with “Even if” may be helpful in exposing and putting out the fear or most aggressive suggestions, so that the way is cleared for receptivity to the healing power of Truth, God. This won’t always be the needed approach. But it is one of many ways we may feel inspired to affirm what we know to be true, which breaks the false, mesmeric pattern of fearful thoughts. It’s about bringing what is erroneous to the surface so it can be removed from thought. Fear can seem like a cloud that blocks the sunlight of Truth. Once the clouds of fear are dissolved, however, we more readily see and feel the sunlight of Truth breaking through. Fear may take the form of doubt, self-condemnation, grief, anxiety, sickness, lack, or self-pity. Instead of allowing these ungodlike, and therefore unnatural, thoughts to continue, we can pray to understand that we are one with God, Truth. One time, I was on an airplane caught in a tropical storm. Not only was the turbulence troubling but it was also hindering us from making an emergency landing. We bumped around in the clouds for some time. A family member who was not religious at the time turned to me and said, “Pray!” I’d been trying, but because of how uncomfortable I was, it seemed the only thing I could cling to was “Even if.” My prayer went something like this: “God, I know You are All. Even if our safety feels threatened right now, and even if we don’t know how this plane will land, I know You are our Life.” With that, I felt much relieved of the gripping fear. The possibility of the plane not landing successfully seemed absurd in light of how loved I knew we all are by God. This calmed me, and I recognized our God-given dominion over any challenge. Handling fear was not about praying my way out of an unfortunate situation but about seeing metaphysically (above the physical) the reality of God’s law of harmony. I was actually handling the fear of being trapped in an uncontrollable problem. Overcoming fear or any cloudiness of thought is the result of Truth shining in our consciousness. In a short while, the turbulence calmed down, and we landed safely, with passengers clapping in gratitude. Listening prayerfully to Love, God, reverses every “What if.” Love says, “Even if things feel troubling, I am here, and you cannot be separated from Me.” Envision what it would be like to live free from some fear you’ve been facing. What if you were never afraid of it again? Because we are God’s children, this freedom is already ours. Even if our situation feels challenging, the undeniable light of Truth and Love is right now shining through fear-based patterns. As the Bible assures us, “God hath not given us the spirit of fear; but of power, and of love, and of a sound mind” (II Timothy 1:7). Have a great evening,
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