When we're in the trial
Although the front page may occupy our thought in the morning, personal trials tend to occupy our day. When we resent and fear our trials, we feel helpless. But when we embrace the promise of healing and spiritual progress that can come as we meet these trials through prayer, we are able to discern that good is present, in spite of evidence stacked to the contrary.
Is it a contradiction to say that each trial holds a unique opportunity? Is it the actual trial or our view of it that's the problem?
The willingness to recognize good requires a new kind of spirit on our part, one that has the courage to argue against the insistence that ''all is lost.'' Since God knows no fear, and man is God's offspring, we can express the courage to stop resenting and fearing our problems and start expressing the goodness we wish to find.
Unlike that human willfulness which wants to go out and do something ''good'' - like change jobs, houses, or spouses - this courage can stand still in the midst of trying conditions and be something actively good. This willingness comes naturally as we understand that man's actual selfhood is the outcome of God, the image of His being. In proportion as we express good - let God's nature be expressed in us - we see good.
Prayer is trusting God to express Himself in us and then making sure we don't get in the way. Prayer is not a means by which we duck the problem. The courageous prayer, devoid of human designs, trusts God enough to be confident that His purpose and will for us is always good.
When we pray with such trust and conviction, we are no longer preoccupied with how Christ will appear tomorrow, because we see Christ - the immortal Truth that Jesus embodied - active today. The Christ is always right here. And with the courage to trust God there comes a tangible awareness that good really is present even when we don't see it physically. When our conviction rests in God's ability to care for us, we witness the resolution of discord.
In adversity St. Paul was able to see that he, himself, could still express the living Christ, Truth. He says of his trial-filled career, ''Thrice was I beaten with rods, once was I stoned, thrice I suffered shipwreck, a night and a day I have been in the deep; in journeyings often, in perils of waters, in perils of robbers, in perils by mine own countrymen, in perils by the heathen . . . ; in weariness and painfulness . . . in hunger and thirst . . . .'' n1
n1 II Corinthians 11:25, 26.
Paul neither feared nor resented these hardships. Neither did he fall into the confused rationale that God had somehow designed these trials to punish him. Rather, he expressed God-impelled action in the face of hardships. This deprived the material circumstances of power and enabled him to say, ''Nay, in all these things we are more than conquerors through him that loved us.'' And he went on to assert that nothing could separate us ''from the love of God, which is in Christ Jesus our Lord.'' n2
n2 Romans 8.37, 39
This is how Christian Science views trials - as opportunities to express and feel God's healing love. With this conviction, Mary Baker Eddy, the Discoverer and Founder of Christian Science, writes, ''No evidence before the material senses can close my eyes to the scientific proof that God, good, is supreme.'' And she continues farther along, ''Love is especially near in times of hate, and never so near as when one can be just amid lawlessness, and render good for evil.'' n3
n3 Miscellaneous Writings p. 277.
The prayer that trusts God doesn't seek to avoid the lessons to be learned in a trial, nor does it slap on a quick coat of positive thinking. At the moment we stop resenting the challenge, we recognize that good is present because God is good and omnipresent, and because we are able to express the Christ.
This fact, understood, gives us a disposition superior to circumstance and never victimized by it. Christlike courage is neither en-couraged nor dis-couraged by physical conditions. It is so busy knowing and expressing God's love unconditionally, it finds no time for ups and downs. Unimpressed by our trials, we stand firm in the conviction that God's love for His creation is always present and that man is the active expression of divine Love. DAILY BIBLE VERSE Our light afflicition, which is but for a moment, worketh for us a far more exceeding and eternal weight of glory while we look not at the things which are seen, but at the things which are no seen: for the things which are seen are temporal; but the things which are not seen are eternal. II Corinthians 4:17, 18