© 2011-2023 Michelle Boccanfuso Nanouche, CSB. All rights reserved. Pages updated 2 December, 2022.
Stop the turbulence
I love long flights. They give me time to think and pray... and nap! On one trip, high above the Atlantic, things rocked and rolled with heavy turbulence. I was shaken from sleep, not only by the movement but, by the murmurs of fellow passengers. For a few moments, fear seemed to be drawing all oxygen from the plane, taking my breath with it.
But, instead of succumbing, I fought back with the only tool I had to defeat it. I prayed. I thought about God as my Life - That I am always safe in Life, never powerless or alone. That I am safely hid with Christ in God, the divine Life of all, where no evil or terror can reach me. Within seconds the crazy shaking stopped and calm returned.
Was it luck? Chance? I can't tell you how many times I have observed this phenomenon of sudden peace resulting from prayer on airplanes and in other situations where big shake ups have threatened to take me out. Once the fear is faced and dismantled by an understanding of God and my relation to Him, turbulence in whatever form just stops cold.
Just today, I was on my way to the airport when one problem after another seemed to shake me up. A bus driver was driving erratically while yelling at someone on his cellphone, making several people on the bus, including me, sick from the motion; a suspected bomb at the airport blocked the path between the train station and my terminal; several technical problems in my hotel room required four different maintenance workers to spend a long time fixing things.
"I am doing a great work, so that I cannot come down: why should the work cease, whilst I leave it, and come down to you?" NEHEMIAH 6:3
In the middle of the latest hoopla in my room, I opened the Bible to the story of Nehemiah and his team rebuilding the wall of Jerusalem. He was confronted by one problem after another that attempted to derail his project. The book of Nehemiah recounts that two opponents of the building plan sent a message to Nehemiah saying, "Come, let us meet together in some one of the villages in the plain of Ono." But Nehemiah recognized that the invitation was a trap. Four times they tried to get him to go to Ono, and each time Nehemiah refused. Then the fifth time, they tried an extra convincing argument, one they were certain he would fall for, and Nehemiah stood firm, knowing that God was strengthening him for his work and protecting the fulfillment of his good purpose. That was the last he heard from the troublemakers. The project was finished and the wall was built with success. (Nehemiah, Chapter 6)
When I read the account, I had to chuckle at the play on words between Nehemiah's Ono and my "Oh, no!" - a place where I had been tempted to go several times today. As I read the account of how Nehemiah stood firm against the turbulence and upset of interruption, I realized that I, too, could turn from "Oh no!" to prayer.
My prayer was a heartfelt protest: "Oh, no I will not be stopped from the peaceful period of preparation that I need for my lecture tonight. Oh, no I will not accept disruption and turmoil as acceptable or normal today. This is God's perfect day and both I and my lecture are safe and protected in it."
Not five seconds after that prayer, the room full of maintenance men emptied. Everything works. Peace and order reigns.
Mary Baker Eddy explained, "Evil has no power, no intelligence, for God is good, and therefore good is infinite, is All." (Science and Health with Key to the Scriptures, 398) Prayer that stands up to fear and fuss draws its authority from the fact that disturbances don't have real substance or power.
Really, you gotta love what prayer can do.
Thou wilt keep him in perfect peace, whose mind is stayed on thee: because he trusteth in thee... LORD, thou wilt ordain peace for us: for thou also hast wrought all our works in us. ISAIAH 26:3,12
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I have practiced Christian Science professionally in
some form since 1979.
But my journey with
Christian Science started
in a Sunday school
where as a young child
I was taught the Scriptures and some simple basics
of Jesus' method of
scientific Christian healing.
A significant experience
at the age of twelve
opened my eyes to
the great potential
of this practice.
After impaling my foot
on a nail,
I prayed the way I had learned
in Sunday school.
the pain stopped
and healing began.
By the next morning the wound had disappeared completely.
the great potential
of Christian Science,
there would be no