EVEN if you're facing what looks to be an insurmountable challenge, there's reason to be hopeful. The reason may not be found in circumstances or in the people around you. It may not be found in any immediate evidence you can point to and say, ``That's why there's a slim chance things will work out.'' But there is a very solid basis for hope in the spiritual reality of God's care for man. From our current standpoint it may seem as though that care were totally absent. Circumstances do have a way of persuading us that there's no possibility for improvement and that God is at best an abstraction, of little real help when we consider things realistically. But if we accept the premise that God is Love, as the Bible teaches Him to be, and that He loves each one of His offspring, we have to conclude that there must be something better in store for us, that a God who is really God, who is Love itself, wouldn't allow His creation to thrash around in a futile circumstance with no hope of progress. But how do we get a better sense of God's love for us and begin to see signs of it?
We can move forward in this direction through prayer -- not through prayer that expresses the human mind's trembling faith but prayer that embodies a deep desire to yield to God's will, prayer that affirms His will to be good, regardless of how awful things may seem at the moment. Basically, our need is to glimpse something of the spiritual harmony that really characterizes our own lives and everyone's life. Our need is to see that the history of a vulnerable mortal with ups and downs and frustrating problems does not represent our true selfhood, which is always safe in God. God never created man subject to misfortune and ultimate decline, because God is good. He is the one, perfect, divine cause, maintaining the well-being of what He has created. And the way we can begin to discern this is through prayer.
Mental stillness, quiet receptivity to what God is telling us, can begin to pierce the gloom and show us the way. The book of Psalms tells us, ``Be still, and know that I am God: I will be exalted among the heathen, I will be exalted in the earth.''1 And Christ Jesus taught in his Sermon on the Mount, ``When thou prayest, enter into thy closet, and when thou hast shut thy door, pray to thy Father which is in secret; and thy Father which seeth in secret shall reward thee openly.''2
We need to shut out the aggressive influence of materialistic thinking -- of fear, doubt, confusion, and so forth and listen for God's thoughts. This is not to ignore the ``reality'' of our trouble, simply to escape temporarily from what would seem to be the cold, hard facts of our situation. Genuine prayer isn't an escape; it's a remedy. For in shutting out thoughts of fear and hopelessness we open the door of consciousness to God's healing thoughts. We open the door to perceiving -- and experiencing -- something of the perfect reality He has established. As Mary Baker Eddy, the Discoverer and Founder of Christian Science, states, ``To divest thought of false trusts and material evidences in order that the spiritual facts of being may appear, -- this is the great attainment by means of which we shall sweep away the false and give place to the true.''3
If we accept the belief that the circumstances of the moment pretty much tell the whole story of our lives -- or of someone else's life, or even of the world -- we're not being realistic in the deepest sense of that term. Why? Because we're forgetting that God is Love, that He is the only genuine power. If God governs, circumstances don't govern, regardless of how much they may seem to. And circumstances can be altered through a clear perception, gained in prayer, of God's total goodness, of His perfect will for man, of the spiritually concordant nature of His creation. It's a failure to see beyond the evidence of the moment that perpetuates fear and promotes discord.
Trust in the Bible promises and proofs of God's love, and silent prayer that insists on the supreme government of divine law, can help forward healing, whatever our situation. They provide good reason for hope.
1Psalms 46:10. 2Matthew 6:6. 3Science and Health with Key to the Scriptures, p. 428.
You can find more articles like this one in the Christian Science Sentinel, a weekly magazine. DAILY BIBLE VERSE: The Lord is my portion, saith my soul; therefore will I hope in him. The Lord is good unto them that wait for him, to the soul that seeketh him. It is good that a man should both hope and quietly wait for the salvation of the Lord. Lamentations 3:24-26