WE confront changes in our lives every day. Some are little changes, such as a new train schedule for our morning commute to work or new neighbors down the street. Many of us are also facing big changes these days, both on a personal level and on a national level. Overnight, it seems, we can go from feeling secure in a steady job in the midst of national prosperity to feeling unsure about our employment because of a nation-wide economic downturn.
Perhaps we can learn something about how to cope with startling situations from the experience of a man who lived a long time ago. His name was Saul, and we can read about him in the New Testament of the Bible. He was actively pursuing and imprisoning as many as he could of the new and growing group of followers of Christ Jesus called Christians.
Jesus, the Son of God, taught that every one of us is actually God's child, and therefore our true selfhood is not material, mortal, vulnerable, but spiritual and perfect, and ever at one with God, Spirit. Christian Science explains the laws of God that lay behind Jesus' life and teachings. Through the study of this Science, we gain a better understanding of our true, spiritual nature and learn how to demonstrate it step by step.
Saul took a big step in this direction one day while on his way to arrest some Christians in Damascus. The book of Acts in the Bible tells us that he was blinded by a great light and heard Jesus asking, ``Saul, Saul, why persecutest thou me?'' (9:4). He then told Saul to go on to the city. There a certain Christian, Ananias, healed his blindness. From that time on, Saul was a consecrated follower of Christ Jesus and became known as Paul.
The Discoverer and Founder of Christian Science, Mary Baker Eddy, speaks of Paul's experience in her book Science and Health with Key to the Scriptures. She writes: ``Saul of Tarsus beheld the way--the Christ, or Truth--only when his uncertain sense of right yielded to a spiritual sense, which is always right. Then the man was changed. Thought assumed a nobler outlook, and his life became more spiritual. He learned the wrong that he had done in persecuting Christians, whose religion he had not understood, and in humility he took the new name of Paul. He beheld for the first time the true idea of Love, and learned a lesson in divine Science'' (p. 326).
We can apply this lesson when dealing with any change or unexpected situation in our own lives. We can listen and yield to the guidance of Christ, Truth, which reveals man's perfect selfhood as God's image, and which always leads us in the way of progress and healing.
Later, when confronted with a crisis--whether a ``natural disaster'' or political and religious oppression--Paul let spiritual sense guide him and was wholly unselfish. Paul had learned from Christ that no circumstance, no matter how frightening or disruptive, can separate man from God, divine Love. As he wrote in a letter to the Romans, ``I am persuaded, that neither death, nor life, nor angels, nor principalities, nor powers, nor things present, nor things to come, nor height, nor depth, nor any other creature, shall be able to separate us from the love of God, which is in Christ Jesus our Lord'' (8:38, 39).
When we're faced with difficult changes--in our health or in the national economic or political situation--we can find peace and healing by turning in prayer to God, filling our hearts with unselfed love, and following our spiritual sense. Because we can't ever be separated from God, good, we always have the ability to discern exactly the right step to take next. And this is sure to lead to progress and healing--for ourselves and others.