SO often when I've felt there was little hope of progress or when I could only conceive of a limited, barely satisfactory outcome to a situation, prayer has opened my eyes to something better -- and frequently unexpected. It has shown me that God's goodness is real and that it does provide for our needs in the most appropriate ways. When it appears that God is absent and that a situation is beyond hope, we may wonder if things will ever change. Yet it's the very futility of a materialistic perspective that should lead us to a higher standpoint of hope in God.
Life's apparent dead ends don't disprove our creator's care. Rather, they point to the need for a more spiritual sense of things, for a willingness to open our thought to the presence of divine goodness, transcending what our eyes and ears superficially take in. As the Psalmist said, ``Why art thou cast down, O my soul? and why art thou disquieted within me? hope in God: for I shall yet praise him, who is the health of my countenance, and my God.''1
We tend to assume that we're confined by circumstances, that the options in our lives are limited to what our background and human reasoning dictate -- or to what others dictate. But man isn't confined. Our genuine identity, as God's spiritual likeness, is free and fulfilled, and we have a right to see that spiritual truth expressed in our lives.
Clearly, this may not always be easy. The challenges facing individuals and societies can be formidable. But that's all the more reason to hope in God -- not in a fearful, uncertain way but with an underlying conviction that because He is supreme and cares for man, there's an answer to our problems.
The need is to exercise spiritual sense, to look beyond the circumstances of the moment to the certainty of God's loving government of man. Through spiritual sense we know that God is Love, as the Bible teaches, and that there is something better than suffering or restriction. Spiritual sense knows that injustice cannot stand. Mary Baker Eddy, the Discoverer and Founder of Christian Science, writes, ``What is termed material sense can report only a mortal temporary sense of things, whereas spiritual sense can bear witness only to Truth.'' And she says, ``Spiritual sense, contradicting the material senses, involves intuition, hope, faith, understanding, fruition, reality.''2
The Bible, throughout its pages, gives us a strong basis for hope, for trusting spiritual sense and the supremacy of the one God. Christ Jesus' healing works, for example -- such as his cure of the man who had been crippled for thirty-eight years3 -- show that despite the appearance of hopelessness, harmony can be restored through divine power. While the Master's works are unparalleled, they indicate that we can, even if in modest ways, prove something of man's uninterrupted, spiritual well-being.
Our hope is never in vain when it's supported by prayer, prayer that's based on an understanding of God's goodness, on an understanding of Him as infinitely wise divine Love. Our hope isn't futile if we're striving daily to express more of the divine nature in greater purity and in love for man.
We've all undoubtedly wrestled with a hopeless sense of things at some point in our lives. But this isn't realism, not in its truest sense. That's because God remains God -- eternal, unconquerable Love -- and man will always be His ideal spiritual likeness, cared for by Him. During challenging times we can catch glimpses of this reality and see it come to light as we're willing to trust spiritual sense and to place all our hope in God.
1Psalms 43:5. 2Science and Health with Key to the Scriptures, p. 298. 3See John 5:2-9.