Running away from problems?
DO you ever feel that you're running away from problems instead of solving them? As a child and teen-ager I was constantly doing this. Some troubles were so difficult to face that evasion seemed the only answer. Of course they didn't just go away; they loomed larger and more formidable as I continued running from them. Mary Baker Eddy, the Discoverer and Founder of Christian Science, writes: ``Evil is not something to fear and flee before, or that becomes more real when it is grappled with. Evil let alone grows more real, aggressive, and enlarges its claims; but, met with Science, it can and will be mastered by Science.''1
I had been raised as a Christian Scientist, but somehow it had not occurred to me that my religious training could help me with these fears. I had regarded Science mainly as a remedy for physical troubles; I had not seen it as a way of life extending into all areas of experience. Later I realized that my acceptance of these unsolved problems was inconsistent with my acceptance of Christian Science, which shows us that all troubles can be resolved through a better understanding of God.
One of my greatest fears had always been speaking in public. All through school, including college, giving an oral report was agonizing. I would accept a lower grade rather than go through this ordeal, which had been troubling me for so long it had become a veritable Goliath. However, my newfound, deeper understanding of Christian Science was teaching me that as the child of a loving God, who supplies His offspring with intelligence and capability, I did not have to rely on a finite, personal ability. I saw that God was the true source of my thought and action; therefore this fear could be proved baseless.
All fear is, in a profound sense, erroneous, because regardless of how legitimate it seems, it would deny the allness and goodness of God. Referring to God as Truth, Mrs. Eddy writes, ``Error is a coward before Truth.''2 So I reasoned that I could apply what I was learning about my true spiritual identity as God's image to this particular error, and the error would run away--vanish--before Truth, instead of my running away from it.
I had often wanted to rise and speak at a Wednesday evening testimony meeting in a branch Church of Christ, Scientist. I wanted to tell how I had been healed of various physical troubles. Fear kept me in my seat time after time, but I was praying to understand that this fear had no source and no real power. Finally I had a healing that meant so much to me I found myself on my feet telling about it. Gratitude outweighed fear. This was the begin ning of the end of my running away from problems. I learned that evening that fear was an impostor. I had called its bluff.
From the moment we are born we seem always to be afraid of something. But mortal existence is not the true life. Christ Jesus said, ``I am come that they might have life, and that they might have it more abundantly.''3 A life spent running from challenges is surely not the abundant life of which Jesus spoke. That life is always right here, however, awaiting our discovery. It's life as the outcome of God, of divine Life itself. It's life that expresses the goodness of God's nature and that can increasingly be discerned through prayer, purification of thought, and loyalty to the one God.
Mrs. Eddy speaks of Moses' fear at seeing the rod he was holding turn into a serpent:4 ``When, led by wisdom to cast down his rod, he saw it become a serpent, Moses fled before it; but wisdom bade him come back and handle the serpent, and then Moses' fear departed.''5
We too can resolve our troubles by facing and handling them. What triumphs Moses achieved after his encounter with the serpent! What would have been accomplished if he had given up and just kept running?
A serpent might be likened to any subtle fear that tempts us. Like Moses, instead of running we can face it and prove it powerless. We can do this through prayer and trust in God's all-power. He is the only power. He did not make fear; therefore it is illusory and we can gain dominion over it.
1Miscellaneous Writings, p. 284. 2Science and Health with Key to the Scriptures, p. 368. 3John 10:10. 4See Exodus 4:2-4. 5Science and Health, p. 321. DAILY BIBLE VERSE Resist the devil, and he will flee from you. James 4:7