The only way out is up!

MANY accounts in the Bible show how individuals had to rise, literally and figuratively, out of deep troubles imposed on them. And their salvation didn't come out of a superior physical or intellectual capacity. It was the result of their absolute trust in God's goodness and love for His children. Maybe you're in a pit, as Joseph was, or in some kind of lions' den, like Daniel. These can take many forms -- divorce, job termination, illness, physical or mental abuse, poverty. But whatever the human picture, the same loving God is present today to lift us up, and lead us out of trouble.

Both Joseph and Daniel were well acquainted with the concept of an all-powerful God -- a Deity whose authority outweighs that of human monarchs. A practical description of this omnipotent God has been given in the writings of Mary Baker Eddy, who discovered Christian Science and founded the Church of Christ, Scientist, as well as this newspaper. She defines God as ``the great I AM; the all-knowing, all-seeing, all-acting, all-wise, all-loving, and eternal; Principle; Mind; Soul; Spirit; Life; Truth; Love; all substance; intelligence.''1

This Biblically based definition of God, understood in some degree, has brought comfort and healing to many in difficult circumstances. It indicates a trustworthy, intelligent power, whose goodness cannot be undermined by any untoward condition. It points to the demand to lift our thought, through prayer, above the false gods of fear, self-pity, anger.

Out of the early recognition of a single, divine authority -- the one God, who speaks to us in the First Commandment, ``Thou shalt have no other gods before me''2 -- has come an unmistakable record of healing and regeneration. From Old Testament writings through the unparalleled works of Christ Jesus and other New Testament accounts of improved lives, restored health, and release from prisoning material conditions, a clear pattern emerges.

And it continues today. We too can find freedom from impositions on our well-being by faithful, singleminded worship of ``the great I AM.'' Through quiet prayer and faithful study of the law of God revealed in the Bible, we can be lifted out of hopelessness and frustration.

Over the years I've seen this proven many times. Recently, I had occasion to call on that divine power to lift me from a bout with disease. Though I'm rarely absent from my normal duties, I found myself sinking into a painful condition from which I couldn't rouse myself. This included a loss of appetite and severe weakness and fever. I called a Christian Science practitioner to support my own prayers. (A practitioner is one who gives full time to helping others through prayer.) Together we insisted on the absolute, inviolable power of God, divine Love, to create and maintain harmony without interruption. We affirmed that man is spiritual, not material, because he expresses the nature of God; that he is subject only to divine law, not discomfort or fear. We identified the debility as nothing more powerful or substantial than a mistake. And that's all it repre-sented -- a mistaken belief that man is something less than the image of God, that he can be vulnerable to contagion or weakness.

As a result of this prayer, a tremendous spiritual insight came early one evening, an inspiration that kept me busy all night exploring and plumbing its depths. And I was back at work the next day with no need for recuperation. Getting out from under disease was certainly a result of going up spiritually.

The fact that we can turn to God to learn more of our real, spiritually perfect nature as His offspring and to find healing is great cause for rejoicing. Think of the potential, offered by prayer, for the entire world to be lifted out of the lions' den of disease, hunger, poverty, conflict. This work begins with our individual reliance on God and portends the time spoken of in the prophetic book of Revelation: ``And God shall wipe away all tears from their eyes; and there shall be no more death, neither sorrow, nor crying, neither shall there be any more pain: for the former things are passed away.''3

1Science and Health with Key to the Sciptures, p. 587. 2Exodus 20:3. 3Revelation 21:4.

You can find more articles like this one in the Christian Science Sentinel, a weekly magazine. DAILY BIBLE VERSE: The effectual fervent prayer of a righteous man availeth much. James 5:16

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