The English novelist R. F. Delderfield perhaps voices the haunting uncertainty of many moderns when his schoolmaster-hero, after a great personal loss, finds that "he supposed himself an agnostic, . . . but he wasn't sure of this. The outlines of his earthly beliefs were well-defined, but he had never exercised his mind to fill the spiritual vacuum. . . . There might be something , he supposed, some vague creative force, impossible to define in words, or even contemplate in solitude. Prayer would be a help now, he imagined, but the best he could do was rally on . . . the substitution of faith in one's fellow man as a workaday equivalent for faith in God. Given there was a God." n1
n1 R. F. Delderfield, To Serve Them All My Daysm (New York: Simon and Schuster , 1972), p. 618.
If only the schoolmaster would push the questions that follow one another. Is there something more than a "vague creative force?" What would God be like? What could He do, anyway?
The schoolmaster had a good start on the answer, but he apparently never found it. He had an unusually deep sense of servce to those about him. He was a loving person. Yet, like many people, he didn't fully make the connection the Bible clearly makes for us: "Love is of god; and every one that loveth is born of God, and knoweth God." n2 The schoolmaster was working with God all the time and didn't recognize Him. What a loss!
n2 I John 4:7.
Here Christian Science makes a major contribution to modern times. MAry Baker Eddy, the Discoverer and Founder of this Science, after closely examining mankind's religious experience as recorded in the Bible, was able to interpret it through spiritual sense in an utterly practical, logical system. Here is no vague creative force. She clearly defines the nature of God in word and concept. Her answer is deeply Christian as she follows Christ Jesus step by step.
Mrs. Eddy's discovery could be of so m uch help to Delderfield's schoolmaster (and to you and to me). She writes, "When mortal man blends his thoughts of existence with the spiritual and works only as God works, he will no longer grope in the dark and cling to earth because he has not tasted heaven." n3 You see, all of us need to make the discovery of our spiritual natures. We are God's offspring. As long as we remain earthly in our concept of things -- mortal men, women, and children -- we really haven't begun to live. All of us touch heaven, have intimations of the ultimate. We see beauty, hear harmony, feel love, thrill to truth, but may think of these as nothing more than bonuses. In fact, the creative, indestructible, and responsible God is "Principle; Mind; Soul; Spirit; Life; Truth; Love." n4 And man is this God's spiritual reflection.
n3 Science and Health with Key to the Scriptures,m p. 263.
n4 Ibid.,m p. 587.
This concept of God is literally a life-saver. It was just that for me some time ago when, like Delderfield's schoolmaster, I was shocked by a severe loss. My position in our school system was eliminated. I was without the job I had held for years. Hurt, confronting rising resentment and fear, I nevertheless resolutely turned away from these to the sure knowledge that the good God was in control rather than disruptive circumtance or personalities. I resisted the urge to sink, upset, into recrimination. I discovered that all the positive forces of the living God were at hand to adjust the situation. A new, totally unpredicted position opened, and I subsequently enjoyed the happiest years of my professional life.
God awaits our discovery! DAILY BIBLE VERSE 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 behold thee with the right hand of my righteousness. Behold, all they that were incensed against thee shall be ashamed and confounded: they shall be nothing; and they that strive with thee shall perish. Isaiah 41:10, 11