By Mary E. Christie
From the December 6, 1900 issue of the Christian Science Sentinel
When thou passest through the waters, I will be with thee; and through the rivers, they shall not overflow thee.—Isaiah.
It was on September 8 last, at the time of the Galveston flood, that I found more faith in God, and I am prompted to write my experience that others may see what Christian Science can do, and has done for us in the storm and darkness.
The tempest was raging and our home was situated only a short distance from the Gulf. At half past two o'clock in the afternoon my husband came home from town with great difficulty. At that hour the rain was falling in torrents and the sea water was gradually covering the streets in the lower parts of the city. However, we were not apprehensive of any danger, having always lived on the coast and being accustomed to ordinary coast storms. During the remainder of the afternoon we read the Bible and Science and Health constantly. As night came on, a neighbor sent for us to come over to her house as she was alone and becoming alarmed; but before we could get away, the water had risen to such a height and the storm increased in violence to such an extent that we were unable to leave our house. This was something altogether unexpected, as we had never, for a moment, thought the water would reach our yard. It was right here that we began to appreciate what Science was to us, as conditions were becoming very serious from a mortal standpoint, but through the constant realization of Truth, we remained perfectly calm and felt safe in our own home.
We had our house girl (who is a Scientist) come in with us; and with Nezzell, our little six-year-old daughter, we all sat quietly down to realize the Omnipotence of God. My husband read the ninety-first and ninety-third Psalms. I read Science and Health, p. 189, (click for text) and we ceased to concern ourselves about our safety but left that entirely with God. The elements now seemed wrought up to their highest point, the house was rocking like a cradle, and it seemed almost beyond human belief that it could withstand such a terrific wind for even a single moment. Still there was no fear. Soon I discovered that the water was coming through the floors. My husband scuttled each room, while the water rose rapidly. In a few moments we felt an awful jar, and as the water came pouring in through the door casings, we knew that the house was off its foundations. The lights had gone out and we were groping in total darkness, in water to my waist. Here the following verse from Isaiah came to me: "Fear thou not; for I am with thee; be not dismayed; for I am thy God: I will strengthen thee; yea, I will help thee; yea, I will uphold thee with the right hand of my righteousness."
My husband took our little girl in his arms and we went to one door but failed to open it, quietly but swiftly we went to another and through it reached the kitchen, there a door had blown open and we discovered that we were floating. Soon the water reached my chin, and we found that every piece of furniture in the house was floating. Something must be done, and that quickly, for in a very short time the water would be too deep for me. For just one brief moment fear tried to take possession of me, but its sway was brief, for almost with the next breath the thought came to me: "Underneath are the Father's everlasting arms." My husband told me to get up on the kitchen stove, which was two feet under water but was the only thing in the house that was stationary. So I was lifted above the wave. All four of us stood on the stove without difficulty.
It was suggested that each of us say aloud something Scientific. My husband repeated the Scientific Statement of Being (Science and Health with Key to the Scriptures. p. 464). C. repeated those dear consoling words of our Leader, "Peace, be still! our Father is at the helm." Then I repeated the first verse of the ninety-first Psalm: "He that dwelleth in the secret place of the most High shall abide under the shadow of the Almighty," and I was followed by our little one, who, throughout it all had been so courageous and brave, with the first verse of our Mother's beautiful poem "Satisfied:"—
It matters not,
What be thy lot
So Love doth guide;
For storm or shine—
Pure peace is thine—
We then silently tried to realize God's Allness and to know that "He holds the wind in His fist."
About eleven o'clock Nezzell noticed that the water was receding, and in some unforeseen way we found a lamp and some dry matches and were thus enabled to see.
Our experience lasted from five o'clock in the afternoon until half past two the next morning. Most of that time we were in the water. We never experienced the slightest trouble of any kind. Once, while standing on the stove, Nezzell (who was very thinly dressed) complained of being cold. Mr. C., without knowing how it got there or where it came from, reached out and found a coat of his floating around on something. It proved to be a heavy one, and although soaked with water, kept her warm nicely. Again, when I seemed to be chilled, he was able to reach a pair of portieres, which served to keep us warm, wet as they were.
But not until we were able to leave our house did we realize how wonderfully we had been protected and how much we had to be thankful for. We found that our house had floated a distance of two squares, and upon going around to where it had stood a realization of the awful destruction that had been wrought dawned upon us, for where, that afternoon, we had looked out upon hundreds of pretty homes in front of us, was now a barren waste, the houses were piled up in mountains of wreckage all around us, while our house had been carried to the highest part of the highest street in the neighborhood and there it stood perfectly intact, out of harm's way from the floating debris which would surely have demolished it had we not gone when we did. Surely did we feel grateful that we had placed our safety in our Father's hands with the feeling that "not my will, but Thine, be done," knowing full well that "He doeth all things well."
We attribute our safety entirely to Christian Science, and we are striving to show our gratitude to our Leader by following more closely in her footsteps, learning of her greater humility, deeper love, and broader charity for all mankind.—Mary E. Christie, Galveston, Tex.