Newspaper article The Christian Science Monitor

Safe in the Midst of Fire

Newspaper article The Christian Science Monitor

Safe in the Midst of Fire

Article excerpt

The tragic loss of nine firefighters in a burning furniture store in Charleston, S.C., earlier this week is a reminder that each year thousands of men and women are willing to put their lives on the line in order to help and save those who are in distress or danger. And sometimes that effort exacts the ultimate price. Much has been said and written about these firefighters and others in the past who lost their lives in the line of duty. One's heart goes out to the city and the families who are affected, as well as to the employees of the store and its owners. I found a helpful thought in something Mary Baker Eddy said in an address she gave in Concord, N.H., in 1899. She grew up in a farming community and would certainly have been familiar with accidents that injured people and took their lives. In those days the social safety net was nowhere near as extensive as it is now, and the impact on families could be as devastating as the loss of the loved one. Yet her conviction of God's ever-presence and man's indestructibility as God's spiritual idea was unshakable. She said, "Remember, thou canst be brought into no condition, be it ever so severe, where Love has not been before thee and where its tender lesson is not awaiting thee. Therefore despair not nor murmur, for that which seeketh to save, to heal, and to deliver, will guide thee, if thou seekest this guidance" ("The First Church of Christ, Scientist, and Miscellany," pp. 149-150). Certainly divine Love with its wisdom and intelligence provides resources for the families and also for the investigators who are trying to understand and learn from the fire so that future tragedies can be prevented. And because God is infinite, that Love was also present with the firefighters in the burning building. That might be hard to accept, but today as I was praying about them and their families, I recalled an experience of three men in the Bible that came to life for me in a way it never had before. …

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