Possibilities or limitations?
THE Bible tells us that Nehemiah and his fellow countrymen were in captivity in a foreign country. The walls of Jerusalem had been broken down, and the Jews remaining there were suffering hardship and persecution. Nehemiah fasted and prayed. He desired to rebuild the wall of Jerusalem, and prayed to God, acknowledging the sins of the Israelites and asking for divine support so that he could obtain permission from King Artaxerxes to return to Judah and rebuild the wall. Permission was granted. Nehemiah allowed no ridicule, harassment, or opposition to get in his way. He trusted God wholeheartedly, let God lead, and the wall was rebuilt.1 To cultivate an abiding trust in God, refusing to be intimidated by the appearance or taunts of evil, enables us to stand on the threshold of wonderful possibilities for good. Mary Baker Eddy, the Discoverer and Founder of Christian Science, has written: ``Science reveals the glorious possibilities of immortal man, forever unlimited by the mortal senses.''2
Because our true selfhood is God's spiritual likeness, the very image of perfection, the reflection of infinite intelligence, we're capable of much more than we might suppose. Our eyes and ears tell us of limitation. But to the degree that we realize that man is always governed by the one divine Mind, God, we'll find the ability and opportunity to express the divine nature in overcoming obstacles to our progress. We'll be better able to serve God and mankind.
Nehemiah obeyed God, who supplied him with all the wisdom and discernment he needed. To be limited by the report of the physical senses is to accept the commonly held view of man as a mortal subject to both good and evil influences and to circumstances beyond his control. While it might seem that this is self-evident truth, it's not the reality created by God, because He created good alone. We have the divine right, then, to turn away in prayer from a false, material sense to God for a true view of our possibilities. God never imposed suffering or limitation on His creation. We can begin, then, to surmount them.
Nehemiah fasted. Couldn't we think of this fasting as a turning away from the human picture of hopelessness? A receptive thought is open to God's spiritual ideas, and they take form in ways that meet our needs. Through prayer Nehemiah found solutions to his problems, and he was alerted to the tricks of his enemies, who conspired to halt the rebuilding of the wall. As a result, he overcame all obstacles and the work was completed.
Christ Jesus, the Way-shower, provided the definitive example of man's possibilities. His healing works disproved the report of ``the mortal senses,'' which depict man as less than God's blessed likeness. For example, the crippled man by the pool of Bethesda had accepted unquestioningly the claims of the physical body, the evidence of the senses, for thirty-eight years.3 He saw a material means of healing and a dependence on his fellowman as his only hope, and these failed him. But Jesus said, ``Rise, take up thy bed, and walk.'' The Christ, the healing and saving power of God that Jesus embodied, wakened the man to a higher perception of himself, transcending the enslaving report of physical sense. ``The glorious possibilities of immortal man'' were revealed, and the man was healed.
The material senses testify only to what the human mind believes. A limited, human sense of things knows nothing of the immortal man of God's creating, maintained in a state of spiritual perfection and governed by divine law. But this false sense can be corrected through prayer.
For several years before I became a Christian Scientist I suffered from a recurring illness. But after finding Science I realized one day that my understanding of God was sufficient to heal the condition. I thought of ``the scientific statement of being'' from the Christian Science textbook by Mrs. Eddy. It begins: ``There is no life, truth, intelligence, nor substance in matter. All is infinite Mind and its infinite manifestation, for God is All-in-all.''4 I reasoned that in reality I was a perfect spiritual idea governed by God and untouched by material conditions. I saw this truth clearly, and shortly I was healed.
When the limitations reported by the physical senses are disputed, and divine Mind's perfect control is acknowledged and realized, ``glorious possibilities'' are ours, and we can experience healing and dominion.
1See Nehemiah, chaps. 1-6. 2Science and Health with Key to the Scriptures, p. 288. 3See John 5:2-9. 4Science and Health, p. 468. DAILY BIBLE VERSE: Do ye look on things after the outward appearance? II Corinthians 10:7