In the "I" of the Storm by Rev. Christine Emmerling 8/30/20 (text)
“In the I of the Storm” Rev. Christine 8/30/2020
In today’s talk “In the I of the Storm”, the word “eye” is the letter “I”. That’s because its about how to overcome our worldly experiences by going within to our inner self.
This title came with a visual effect of a tornado, its path is to be avoided or be in its wake of destruction. To be tossed about and hurled out of control as was Dorothy in the story of the “Wizard of Oz” when her house was lifted up and came crashing down in a strange land. During the whole story all that Dorothy wanted was to go home. She had many adventures and some very scary, but all the while she had the answer, the key, right there within her. So do we.
The center of a cyclone or hurricane is called the eye. It is calm, quiet, a stillness, and yet all around its whirling wind there is destruction. Those who study cyclones have flown into its center to observe this stillness, and then to go out its other side to once again be tossed about. Today, I’m using this example for our worldly outer life and our inner life.
We find today so many people are experiencing the effects of COVID-19; the loss of loved ones, the loss of jobs, and our way of life. Now with the fires so much more destruction is taking place. It can be like a cyclone tossing us about. And, like the pilot we can go to the center, our center, and be at peace while all the chaos is going on about us, it doesn’t have to affect our inner self, our inner being.
When we can remove our attention from our problems, go silently within to our center, our “I” or “I Am”, then we rise above the storm of our fearful emotions. Miracles can take place during this silence; this stillness of mind. We touch inner guidance that leads us through any storm or difficulty. When we re-emerge it is no longer the same — transformation has begun. We see through the illusions to the truth of reality. We no longer fear the outcomes, and we take appropriate action which may seem totally against or contrary to the appearance.
Back in 2014, my daughter and I lived through the hurricane named Odile. We were on vacation in Cabo San Lucas, MX. We were not told about the hurricane coming until it was only a few hours away. Normally the hurricanes veer away, but to everyone’s surprise, it didn’t. This left us with no time to leave, and just to shelter in our room. We experienced the 125 mile an hour winds for hours, and then suddenly silence, pure calm, a stillness for about 30 minutes, and then again the devastating winds which lasted another few hours.
In the morning we looked outside our window, and saw buildings torn apart, windows blown out, palm trees and plants torn out by their roots, and flooding. Yet we were untouched.
The saying, “When times get tough, the tough get tougher.” I find it this way “When the times get tough, the strong go within.” The strong don’t fight the appearances, that only reinforces them — feeds them, and the storm gains momentum and power of destruction. Instead the strong know to take their attention away from the problem, starve it by affirmative prayer, and then going within to their center where there is no thought, word, or fear. We call this prayer and silent meditation.
Then instead of worrying about being unemployed, we celebrate knowing this is an opportunity for something better. If facing illness, then we know it is an opportunity to look within, and change our thinking and ways. When devastation happens we put to practice what we have been learning as students of Divine Science or New Thought teachings. We have the tools to make lemons into lemonade. That is we can make good or find the good in any circumstance.
One of my favorite sayings is, “I created this, so I can choose to create something else.” Just because I created it doesn’t mean I have to stay and suffer in it forever. I can just as easily create something better — I choose again. This is our free will — to make choices. To choose how we see life, our world — good or bad, ugly or beautiful, fearful or loving, the cup half empty or half full.
As with Dorothy we can follow the yellow brick road, from one illusion to another, looking for the wizard of Oz to fix us or do it for us. While all the time the answer was right here within us. For Dorothy it was to close her eyes, and say “I want to go home” 3 times and click her heels together. For us our home is our holy temple that is within us. The “I” of our Divine or Christ consciousness.
We can rewrite the script, the consequences don’t have to be the worst or what we believe the normal results would be. Instead expect a miracle -- expect the best outcome. Take that step of faith, trust, and you too can come out of the storm untouched.
In Psalm 91:1-7 we are told, “He who dwells in the protection of the most High shall abide under the shadow of the Almighty. I will say of the Lord, he is my refuge and my fortress; my God; in him will I trust. Surely he shall deliver you from the snare of the fowler, and from vain gossip. He will cover you with his feathers, and under his wings you shall trust: his truth shall be your shield and buckler.
“You shall not be afraid for the terror by night, nor for the arrow that flies by day. Nor for the conspiracy that spreads in darkness; nor for the pestilence that wastes at noonday. Thousands shall fall at your side, and ten thousand at your right hand; but it shall not come near you.” And in Hebrew 13:5 we are told “I will never fail you nor forsake you.”
Dwelling in the protection of the most High takes place when we take our focus, our thoughts away from the problem. We do this by surrendering, in giving it all over to God. Then going to that center within ourselves. Bringing our focus to this Divine Presence within, the I AM, we ascend in consciousness from human doing to Spirit being. Here we are never forsaken - the healing takes place. Now the outcome may not be what we expected, for God works in mysterious ways.
Whatever the concern, what ever we are faced with to know in that very instant, that God is here right where I Am, God Is. God is everywhere all around me and within me. Even when the ground is trembling and the buildings shaking, to know God is right here in this very moment. The activity of God, spiritual consciousness is the only power at work. There is no other power, and let all beliefs to the contrary be uprooted and dissolved.
I have a true story to share with you about a woman who in 2015 experienced the Nepal 7.8 earthquake. In her words, “It’s been a full seven days since the big one, but it feels like it happened just a few seconds ago. It was a lazy Saturday around noon, and I was sitting with my eight-year-old son in the living room of my house, when the ground started to shake. The windows were shuddering so violently that I thought the house was going to explode. My first instinct was to stay put in the room but as the shaking continued, I just grabbed my son’s hand and ran - barefoot - out of the house to a vegetable garden next door where most of my neighbors had also gathered.
“Just when we thought the shaking had stopped, there was another tremor, and yet another. I held my son tightly and murmured my prayers. A tin-roofed house collapsed right in front of our eyes. Before our eyes a woman was struck on the head by falling debris. We were told later that she had sadly died on the spot.
“The big tremor was felt for almost 2 minutes, and we were lucky to have survived. Many people had succumbed under crumbling buildings. As I drove to my mother’s house later that day, we saw collapsed houses, damaged walls and broken water pipes.
“The communities were at the forefront, providing help to neighbors, distributing much-needed food and water, managing relief material, and just being there for each other. We are still coming to grips with the devastation. But our community spirit is stronger than ever. We are taking it one day at a time.”
What is the first thing that you will do during a crisis? This mother, the first thing was to seek safety, but then prayed as the tremors kept coming. She immediately turned her mind on God.
I too remember saying my prayers and meditating during the hurricane. My daughter and I too saw the crumpled up buildings as we drove through town to the airport, but fortunately for Cabo San Lucas there weren’t many deaths. Now today, Cabo San Lucas is known as the Unstoppable Cabo.
We can go around like chicken little crying “the sky is falling” at every little thing that happens. And, then when the “big one” happens just emotionally fall apart. It is so important to have your daily dose of God, meaning to take time everyday to go within, inspirational reading, and put to practice what you do know. Divine Science has wonderful tools to prepare yourself for those challenges, or should I say opportunities for exercising our spiritual muscles.
This reminded me of the Bible story of Jonah and the whale - it was actually a large fish. This story began with the Lord telling Jonah to preach the prophecy at Nineveh. The people of Nineveh were to be destroyed if they didn’t change their ways. Jonah judged them, and instead of going to Nineveh, Jonah fled to take a ship to Tarshish.
Once on the ship and out to sea a huge wind came up tossing the ship around. The captain asked Jonah to pray to his God - which he couldn’t since he ran away and now felt unworthy. The men were told to cast lots to see who caused the wind, and it pointed to Jonah. So Jonah agreed, and was thrown over board. Immediately the wind and sea became calm.
The Lord prepared a great fish that swallowed up Jonah. Jonah was swallowed up in to the belly of the fish for 3 days and 3 nights. Jonah said, ‘When my soul fainted within me I remembered the Lord; and my prayer came in unto thee, into thine holy temple, and I will sacrifice unto thee with the voice of thanksgiving. And the Lord spoke to the fish, and out came Jonah upon dry land.
The story didn’t end there. When Jonah was saved, the Lord again requested him to go to Nineveh and give his prophecy. It was a 3 day journey to Nineveh. He then gave this message “40 days and Nineveh shall be overthrown.” The people began to pray, and the king ordered a fast for man and beasts, and to turn from evil ways and violence. All obeyed.
God saw their works and did not destroy them. But this displeased Jonah, and he was greatly grieved and wanted to die. The Lord showed him about having sorrow, compassion and forgiveness, and his sorrow lifted.
Metaphysically this is all going on within us. Jonah is the prophet state of mind that judges harshly our self and others, and through our fears we misunderstand our inner guidance to change our ways. Instead we see doom, and we try to run from our feelings. Yet we can’t run from these fearful and guilty thoughts. The situation just gets worse.
The ship represents our soul, and the sea represents our emotions. The wind is forceful and overwhelming. Our guilty fearful emotions and thoughts overpower our soul. Until we are swallowed by all the fearful thoughts. The large fish represents deep spiritual teachings.
Now in the belly of the fish, meaning we’re in a process. First it seems like a living hell. Then when we finally give up, a new idea comes to pray, and begin to think of God with gratitude, being grateful for all that we have had in life. Then into our holy temple of silence. It takes 3 days and 3 nights, for his renewed consciousness, and be returned to dry land. The number 3 is symbolic of the law of creation, a trinity of God the Creator, God the Creative Action, and God the Creation.
Once our mind is renewed we are free to make another choice. This time we follow through and change our ways. Thou we still have more to learn. Our belief is in cause in effect which doesn’t give redemption or forgiveness. Again, our Divine Self teaches us a greater love that can forgive without the effects from prior mistakes. We call this the law of Grace.
No matter what our storm may be, always we can choose to turn within to our “I” and “Be still and know that I am God”, and witness the blessings, and be a blessing. Let us affirm: “Wherever I am, whatever I say and do, I am a blessing.” And so it is.