The members of my family were happily occupied, each one packing his bag, excitedly preparing for a cherished week at our lake cabin. Our thoughts and conversation were filled with pleasant memories of fishing, canoeing, swimming, hiking through the awesome north woods, and picking buckets of huge blackberries , which we promptly baked in scrumptious pies!
Shortly before we were to leave, we received a phone call from a relative. She announced that she had decided to invite a friend and join us on our vacation. Suddenly we felt as though the joy had been socked right out of our preparations! From the visits with this relative in the past, we were all too familiar with her bossiness and meddlesome insensitivity. There had been many spats and hurt feelings all around. Yet she had often been very kind and generous toward us, and we knew she loved us very much. We loved her too and appreciated her goodness. We certainly didn't want to respond to her announcement in a way that would cause problems in our relationship. The phone conversation ended with things left the way she had arranged them.
What can you do in such an awkward situation? My children and I are Christian Scientists, so it was natural for us to turn to God with all our hearts to listen for His guidance. It helped me to realize that no situation is outside God's wise, just, loving government.
As a result of prayer some specific ideas came to me. The first was from the Bible: ''And God saw every thing that he had made, and, behold, it was very good.'' n1 To me that meant that man's actual being, as the creation of God, is wholly good, not good andm bad. Though the material senses conveyed a vivid image of our relative as both loving and unloving, I knew I could accept the Word of God as absolute truth. And the life of Christ Jesus was proof to me that God's Word is demonstrable on the human scene.
n1 Genesis 1:31.
I also began to realize that we were free to love and welcome into our hearts the immortal and lovable man of God's creating, but we did not have to tolerate or accept one iota of that which claims to belong to man but in reality does not: the evil elements of mortal thought. Part of the definition of ''mortal mind'' in the Christian Science textbook, Science and Health with Key to the Scripturesm by Mary Baker Eddy, n2 reads: ''the opposite of Spirit, and therefore the opposite of God, or good.'' n3 We do not have to experience evil along with good. We rule evil out of our lives by accepting good, the creation of God, Spirit, as the only reality, power, and presence. We rule evil out by accepting only those thoughts that come from the one divine Mind and by denying the validity of so-called mortal mind, of evil, materialistic thinking.
n2 Mrs. Eddy is the Discoverer and Founder of Christian Science.
n3 Science and Health, p. 592.
Those ideas alerted me to embrace my whole family in prayer. (We certainly needed it!) I reasoned that our time together, under God's government, could include no opportunity for such mortal traits as stubbornness, selfishness, temperamentalism, laziness, or irritability. I realized that since God's laws of love and harmony govern every aspect of His creation, our relationships could only be characterized by cooperation, mutual respect, heartfelt appreciation, affectionate sharing, and so on.
I didn't know at that point exactly how things would turn out, but I was willing to yield to God's government, certain it would be good.
What happened? Through very unusual circumstances our relative and her friend found it impossible to join us that week. We had a perfectly lovely vacation, filled with lots of wholesome fun.
Interestingly, we have had other, more appropriate occasions to visit with our relative, visits marked by genuine affection and more congeniality than in times past.
If it is possible to rule discord out of a vacation and a relationship, what is there to prevent us from progressively ruling it out of every aspect of our lives? DAILY BIBLE VERSE Let all your things be done with charity. I Corinthians 16:14