IT'S very easy to look forward to some things with joy. But other things we view with dismay, and sometimes we may even feel there is nothing to look forward to at all. Likewise, looking back can be done either with happiness or with regret. Such fluctuating states of thought arise from thinking of ourselves as mere mortals, living apart from our creator in a material world that is full of influences and uncertainties over which we have no control. But is this limited view really all there is? What happens when we view experience from the perspective of man's spiritual being?
Mary Baker Eddy, the Discoverer and Founder of Christian Science, writes in Science and Health with Key to the Scriptures: ``Mortals must look beyond fading, finite forms, if they would gain the true sense of things. Where shall the gaze rest but in the unsearchable realm of Mind? We must look where we would walk, and we must act as possessing all power from Him in whom we have our being.''1
Christian Science points to the reality of God's creation, including man, as the perfect spiritual outcome of perfect divine Spirit. To a limited, worldly view of things the facts may seem totally the opposite. Yet because God is the only genuine creator, we are actually, at this moment, the man of His creating, the expression of good alone. Thoughts, then, of dismay, regret, despair, are no part of our real consciousness of life.
To view the future or the past properly, we need through prayer to look to God, good, as the only real source of man's life. He is always guarding and governing His creation wisely, and we can come to discern that wisdom directing our lives. We should look to the future with a natural expectancy of good--and an equally natural rejection of anything unlike God. Our lives need not become drear and routine, with one uninteresting day following another. As we constantly acknowledge God's presence, and come more and more to feel it in prayer, we'll experience His love and support enlivening our days and eradicating unhappiness and distress. Becoming more aware of His goodness, we find new possibilities becoming apparent to us.
Christ Jesus gave a hint of the ample good always available to us when he said, ``Say not ye, There are yet four months, and then cometh harvest? behold, I say unto you, Lift up your eyes, and look on the fields; for they are white already to harvest.''2
What about the past? Gratitude for good already received can never be wrong, and it's often both inspiring and healing to be grateful for the good we've experienced. Mrs. Eddy writes: ``Are we really grateful for the good already received? Then we shall avail ourselves of the blessings we have, and thus be fitted to receive more.''3
Dwelling nostalgically on days gone by as having contained--and taken with them--our good can keep us from being aware of present-day good and opportunities to be now more Christlike in thought and deed. Good is always present; it is neither limited to the past nor held back for the future.
If there is regret for some action taken in the past, we can realize that suffering and wrongdoing are no part of true being and that healing is therefore always possible. A humble desire to see God's love universally expressed can lift guilt and show us how we can reclaim the past and, if necessary, make restitution. These words of Paul are pertinent: ``Brethren, I count not myself to have apprehended: but this one thing I do, forgetting those things which are behind, and reaching forth unto those things which are before, I press toward the mark for the prize of the high calling of God in Christ Jesus.''4 The abundant harvest of God's goodness is available now. We reap the rich benefits it bestows as we turn away from a preoccupation with the regrets of the moment and begin to rejoice in the reality and healing power of God, to discern His presence in prayer and feel the love and joy that He imparts. Then we'll increasingly come to see our true nature as His blessed, satisfied offspring, inseparable from good.
1Science and Health, p. 264. 2John 4:35. 3Science and Health, p. 3. 4Philippians 3:13, 14. DAILY BIBLE VERSE In thy presence is fulness of joy; at thy right hand there are pleasures for evermore. Psalms 16:11