IF dark shadows of loneliness, joblessness, sickness, or homelessness appear to be robbing us of the healthy sharing and stability that make up harmonious living, it's certainly right that such shadows be dissolved. And if it's right that they dissolve, it seems natural to want them to do so, to want the light of harmony and love to illuminate our existence fully. The inspired writer of the twenty-third Psalm says, ``I shall not want.'' Is he speaking about the future, describing how he will feel when all his problems have been solved, after God has made him lie down in green pastures, after God has restored his soul? Or is he describing his current attitude toward the valley of shadows that he is walking through; of his refusal to admit that there can be deficiencies in the Shepherd's love for him or in His ability to care for His flock? Perhaps like Paul he agrees that ``now is the accepted time; behold, now is the day of salvation,''1 for he goes on to express his refusal to fear the evils that seem to dwell in shadows, knowing that he is never separated from the evidence of God's love.
We might think of each challenge we face--even if it appears insurmountable --as a demand on us to progress; to rise above the sense of limitation that would hold us in bondage. But we can only progress if our thoughts and desires reach higher than our current status. To allow ourselves merely to want the trouble resolved makes the trouble, instead of a higher goal, the basis of our thinking. It keeps us tied to the problem--to a sense of deficiency that blinds us to a resolution. To pray effectively, in the spirit of the twenty-third Psalm, however, demands that we reach mentally not merely for a higher human goal but for a realization of the spiritual perfection established by God in creating man in His own perfect image.
There are no deficiencies in God's perfect spiritual creation. There is no lack of love, companionship, activity, health, beauty. God saw all that He had made and beheld its infinite goodness; and He rested. We also can rest on this spiritual foundation. It may look to the human sense of things as if creation were obviously material, and riddled with troubles. But what appears to the human senses as a physical world full of lack and sorrow is a false, limited sense of creation. It is a shadowy misconception of what God has actually made. It's the valley of the shadow of death. Yet we need not fear--need not dwell in--the valley as we seek and find evidences of the Shepherd's constant care: the green pastures and still waters that surround us now as we journey toward the final realization and demonstration of our spiritual perfection.
Mary Baker Eddy, the Discoverer and Founder of Christian Science, writes: ``Though the way is dark in mortal sense, divine Life and Love illumine it, destroy the unrest of mortal thought, the fear of death, and the supposed reality of error. Christian Science, contradicting sense, maketh the valley to bud and blossom as the rose.''2
We may have to walk through the valley, but we don't have to loiter in it, fear it, or let it depress us with its false claim to be God's creation. The Christly view, the true spiritual view of creation expressed in Jesus' healing works, will show us where we really dwell all the days of our life. And as we learn from experience that God's goodness knows no bounds, we too will not ``want.''
1II Corinthians 6:2. 2Science and Health with Key to the Scriptures, p. 596. You can find more articles like this one in the Christian Science Sentinel, a weekly magazine. DAILY BIBLE VERSE I had fainted, unless I had believed to see the goodness of the Lord in the land of the living. Wait on the Lord: be of good courage, and he shall strengthen thine heart: wait, I say, on the Lord. Psalms 27:13,14