Knowing our need of God
Knowing our need of God is the first step toward knowing God Himself. It's knowing our need of His goodness and gentleness and wisdom and love, and beginning to recognize and feel the power of these qualities. People sometimes ask: ``Is there really a God, or have people invented God to explain the unaccountable and to satisfy the human need for reassurance? Has God created man, or has mankind created God? Is man Godlike or is God man- like?'' In the book of Job the Lord is shown answering such questions by asking some questions: ``Knowest thou the ordinances of heaven? canst thou set the dominion thereof in the earth? . . . Who hath put wisdom in the inward parts? or who hath given understanding to the heart?'' 1
God does all these things. But God is not anthropomorphic or manlike. The order we see in the universe hints an infinite, wise, creative Mind, which has made man to express its incorporeal nature, to reflect infinite Life and Love, to bear witness to the divine Principle of being. We have need of God because He is the very source of all we truly are. And as the image of God, what we truly are is not a material personality, composed of some good qualities and some bad ones. Our actual selfhood is spiritual, the image of Spirit, the expression of the pure good that is God.
God's qualities can't be confined within any one person or locality. They are universal. To believe otherwise is to have a limited sense of their scope and availability, and therefore a limited experience of good. We need God because He alone is the source of good, wherever we see it.
Every time someone expresses one of God's qualities, and by so doing tips the scale in some challenge, God has made Himself known more clearly to human comprehension, even if the people concerned don't always realize what has happened at the time.
Christ Jesus gave a clear picture of the nature of God, whom he described as his Father and our Father, and whom he knew intimately. In the Beatitudes he listed some of the attitudes and qualities that enable us to know God better. The first beatitude says: ``Blessed are the poor in spirit: for theirs is the kingdom of heaven.'' 2 J. B. Phillips has this translation: ``How happy are those who know their need for God, for the kingdom of Heaven is theirs!'' Then follow such needed qualities as meekness, mercifulness, purity.
In the Beatitudes, peacemakers are also blessed. Peacemaking is very much needed today. There's nothing passive about peacemaking thoughts. They have to be strong, not weak. Peaceableness and compassion mustn't be confused with appeasement, or patience with cowardice. Peacemaking isn't just a matter of placating warring mortals. The peacemaker has to entertain a higher sense of man, refusing to be either deceived or provoked. And the peacemaker should know where real power lies, seeing clearly our need for God and for His unshakable government. Divine justice isn't a remote abstraction. It's an ever-present force that can be appealed to effectively in any situation.
Mary Baker Eddy, the Discoverer and Founder of Christian Science, writes: ``No purer and more exalted teachings ever fell upon human ears than those contained in what is commonly known as the Sermon on the Mount,--though this name has been given it by compilers and translators of the Bible, and not by the Master himself or by the Scripture authors. Indeed, this title really indicates more the Master's mood, than the material locality.'' And she asks: ``What has this hillside priest, this seaside teacher, done for the human race? Ask, rather, what has he not done. His holy humility, unworldliness, and self-abandonment wrought infinite results.'' 3
More than anyone in history, Christ Jesus has made us know our need of God. By his own example he has shown us how this need can be filled by reflecting the divine nature. And he has shown us that the fruits of this activity are available to everyone. 1 Job 38:33, 36. 2 Matthew 5:3. 3 Retrospection and Introspection, pp. 91-92.