In the fourteenth chapter of the Gospel of Matthew it is related that when Jesus appeared to his disciples walking on a wind-blown, angry sea, the disciples were troubled. "But straightway Jesus spake unto them, saying, Be of good cheer; it is I; be not afraid."
Today Christian Science repeats the Master's comforting words, "Be not afraid," and many are proving in increasing measure through the study of Science that to be fearless brings the promised God-given dominion over all the earth. They are learning that Christ is the manifestation of God appearing to human consciousness and destroying all that is unlike God, good.
Peter was on the ship when Jesus approached, and this proof of dominion by the Master so inspired him that he said to him, "Lord, if it be thou, bid me come unto thee on the water." The answer that Jesus gave to this request is highly significant to men and women everywhere and in all ages. He simply said, "Come."
Peter, when he left the ship, may have had, latent in consciousness, a thought that he was about to subdue matter, or error, as "something." Mary Baker Eddy corrects such mistaken belief when she states in "Science and Health with Key to the Scriptures" (p. 92), "Until the fact concerning error—namely, its nothingness—appears, the moral demand will not be met, and the ability to make nothing of error will be wanting."
Peter walked on the water after he had left the ship, but apparently failed to make "nothing of error," for, seeing "the wind boisterous," he became frightened and began to sink. But the saving Christ was present, as it always is, and Peter was saved from the effects of doubt and fear through Jesus' clear understanding of the all-power of God.
Today many are asking in prayer to be sustained and to be able to walk above the evidence of the physical senses and to put down the claim of error to be a frightening "something." Christian Science, by revealing the allness of God, good, and the nothingness of evil, assures them that they need not be afraid of matter's threats; for in the measure that they gain a spiritual understanding of Spirit's allness will they be able to approximate Jesus' ability to subdue material conditions.
To all who are laboring under the false beliefs of mortality, Christ in divine Science says, "Come." This command requires a step forward, a firmer reliance on the sustaining divine Principle, God, which is omnipotent and omnipresent and holds man, His image and likeness, in eternal Life and harmony.
Some years ago a student of Christian Science began a line of endeavor in the commercial field which called for taking many steps that were new and strange. These steps were frequently accompanied by fear and doubt, and when he looked at the swirling waters of mortal belief, the student at times became deeply depressed and as a result suffered serious physical difficulties. Through steadfast holding to the truth of the allness of God, good, and the nothingness of evil, learned in the Christian Science Sunday School, and through the help of kind friends and Christian Science practitioners, his consciousness was gradually lifted above the mist and tempest, and the road ahead became clear.
Finally a day arrived when his business was progressing, and in the fall of 1941 the family moved into a comfortable new home. Three months later the business had vanished through the cry of "war." It was necessary to move to another city and, like millions of others, to take up new and strange work. Was not this evil a raging sea claiming that it was "something" and could destroy man's life and freedom?
Many times before, the student had accepted error's false claims that it could defeat and destroy, and he had suffered for doing so. Now evil suggested that all was lost and the former struggle had been in vain. But this time, through radical reliance on Truth, all sense of loss, regret, or resentment was quickly eliminated. As he studied the Bible and Science and Health more earnestly, already familiar passages became beacon lights that guided him safely through the storm.
When the war ended, the way opened up to resume the business that had been interrupted, and through the knowledge gained in working with new materials during the intervening years a much better product resulted. Even more significant was the fact that while the student had been concerned because the patent rights on the product were running out, a few months before the war ended he found a much better way of fulfilling the function of the product. Here was clear proof that no loss can occur when we place our trust in God and find that good is unlimited.
Men are still looking at a troubled world, a tossing, wind-swept sea of mental conflict based on the belief of minds many. When will real peace come? When mankind is prepared to answer the call of Christ, Truth, to "come" and awaken from the illusion that man is mortal and separated from God and must war with his neighbor in order to maintain himself. The man of God's creating cannot war with his neighbor. The man of God's creating has no lack or limitation; hence he has no cause for conflict, but has all good now. And that is the only man God ever made.
Then let us "come" and accept the truth about God and man as revealed in Christian Science and repudiate the counterfeit man called a mortal by daily striving to "put off the old man with his deeds" and to "put on the new." This striving is not a laborious process, but is a joyous and uplifting experience. In proportion as this is done, shall we receive the Christ-light of spiritual understanding.
When Peter asked to walk on the water, he was willing to take the first step, even though he did not have the full understanding of the master Christian. When Peter left the ship, was he deserting his fellow men? Absolutely not. Jesus was present during Peter's trial of faith, but no one would say that he was unmindful of those remaining on the ship, well knowing that each one must be willing to take the first step in working out his own salvation.
Many who are willing to take the first step, and those who do, will at times find themselves confronted with error's argument that leaving the ship—the false sense of existence—is abandoning one's fellow men, and that it would be better to remain with them. It further suggests that one will be made conspicuous by an attempt to abandon mortality, and that by so doing he will find himself alone on a raging sea. All of this is utter falsehood, the clamor of evil, which says it has power to bind, restrict, and limit man. This lie is destroyed with each advancing footstep toward the land of promise. Jesus proved this. He was not alone when he walked above the evidence of the material senses, and he knew it. The Christ, Truth, was present, as it always was, always is, and always will be.
That our Leader relied unswervingly on the guidance of the ever-present Christ, Truth, is evidenced by these words from Science and Health (pp. 226, 227): "I saw before me the awful conflict, the Red Sea and the wilderness; but I pressed on through faith in God, trusting Truth, the strong deliverer, to guide me into the land of Christian Science, where fetters fall and the rights of man are fully known and acknowledged."
In the fourth and fifth verses of Mrs. Eddy's poem "Christ My Refuge" (Poems, p. 12) we again see this thought expressed:
"And o'er earth's troubled, angry sea
I see Christ walk,
And come to me, and tenderly,
"Thus Truth engrounds me on the rock,
Upon Life's shore,
'Gainst which the winds and waves can shock,