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Weathering the Storm
WILLIAM P. McKENZIE, CSB


         The writer of the one hundred and seventh psalm observed the providential care of God over wanderers and captives, those in sickness and those driven by storm at sea. He saw this divine Providence helping those who were homeless and solitary and leading them forth by the right way, "that they might go to a city of habitation." The prisoners "bound in affliction and iron" he saw turning for help to God who "saved them out of their distresses." The sick, loathing food and tottering weakly to the very gates of death, he observed as they would "cry unto the Lord in their trouble" and find it true that He "saveth them out of their distresses." He observed how the works and wonders of the Lord were also known to the seamen, "they that go down to the sea in ships, that do business in great waters."

         The great liner may seem to be magnificent as it towers beside its dock or when it makes its stately progress by river and estuary to the wide sea, but once upon the great waters and tossed about by the swelling waves, how it seems a small and a frail thing to contend with such gigantic forces. When the storm rages and the seamen have done all they can as they "reel to and fro," when their wisdom and experience seem unavailing and they "are at their wit's end,"—"then they cry unto the Lord in their trouble, and he bringeth them out of their distresses. He maketh the storm a calm, so that the waves thereof are still. Then are they glad because they be quiet; so he bringeth them unto their desired haven."

         The student of the Bible first sees all this as picturesque description of events happening to others; but ere long discerns that the psalmist is graphically explaining life, and calling upon all of us to praise God for His goodness to the children of men. Then the student recognizes that he himself was like the wanderer in the solitary way, he was like the afflicted captive set free, or the emaciated sufferer delivered, and the storm-beaten mariner brought to the haven of peace, because divine Love was his forever Savior amid all the exigencies and trials of his mortal career; and so he can join with the psalmist in saying, "Whoso is wise, and will observe these things, even they shall understand the lovingkindness of the Lord."

         It is the peculiar mission of Christian Science to affirm God's loving-kindness and to give adequate proof thereof through the demonstration of healing. Mrs. Eddy clearly shows, however, the perfection of divine Principle and the consequent necessity for purity in man. The fire of the furnace is merciful to the tarnished gold, consuming falsity and revealing the pure metal, brilliant and clean. So the mercy of God purifies the heart of man, because "our God is a consuming fire." It may be for this reason that many do not desire healing until the need is great, until they are, so to speak, sick or in prison, astray on earth and in danger through storm and tempest; then they cry for help and are delivered. When healing and purification have been achieved, thereafter there should be courage to face all storms.

         No one in her day and generation so adequately affirmed the goodness of God as Mrs. Eddy did. She was as faithful in warning against the wiles of evil as in prophesying the blessings of healing. She made clear that the promises of God are inherited "through faith and patience." She did not say that no storms would come, but showed her students how to weather them; as for example in "Science and Health with Key to the Scriptures" (p. 254), where she says: "If you launch your bark upon the ever-agitated but healthful waters of truth, you will encounter storms. Your good will be evil spoken of. This is the cross. Take it up and bear it, for through it you win and wear the crown. Pilgrim on earth, thy home is heaven; stranger, thou art the guest of God."

         The honest worker is encouraged in the warfare with evil; endeavoring to overcome it with good he wins success. He is therefore helped by honest criticism to do his work more thoroughly. But when his good is evil spoken of, this is the intentional assailment of life itself. This effort of the adversary threatens to make him homeless; it would famish him; it would bind him "in affliction and iron;" it would overwhelm him with tempest,—if it could! But the one who assails good manifested by man makes his controversy and contention against good itself. He assails God just as the scribes did. They said of Jesus when he was doing the works of God, "He hath Beelzebub, and by the prince of the devils casteth he out devils." But the Master showed them that they were actually taking issue against the Holy Ghost and putting themselves in danger.

         It must be evident to the demonstrator of Christian Science that his assailment by adversaries can be no more than a passing storm, and in weathering a storm, what better counsel need the spiritual mariner have than that so beautifully given by our Leader, Mrs. Eddy, in her Poems (p. 4):—

Wait, and love more for every hate, and fear
No ill,—since God is good, and loss is gain.

If we are loving God we are assured of home and heaven, and of liberty to do good. If storm-beaten for a while, we know that calm will come and that God will bring us to the haven of our desire. Our Leader says (Miscellaneous Writings, p. 152), "Into His haven of Soul there enters no element of earth to cast out angels, to silence the right intuition which guides you safely home."

 

"Weathering the Storm" by William P. McKenzie, CSB
Christian Science Sentinel, February 14, 1920
 

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