Are You Ready For What's Next?

HAVE you ever found yourself stuck? You've worked long and hard, but don't see much evidence of progress in spite of all your effort. What more can you do? Now is not the time to groan or give up! It's the time to prepare for progress we don't yet see--to turn our thought to the spiritual watching and waiting that prepares our heart to see the good God is giving us. Christ Jesus urged, Matthew's Gospel tells us, ``Watch therefore, for ye know neither the day nor the hour wherein the Son of Man cometh'' (25:13).

This waiting and watching forwards our progress when we use it as a period of serving, not stalling. Getting ``unstuck'' doesn't always require a different place or position. It can simply be a better ``you'' or ``me'' moving confidently forward. Progress is certain when we ground our efforts on a spiritual understanding of ourselves and our activities. When the ``Son of Man'' comes, doesn't he bring to light a renewed spiritual view of each of us as the able offspring of a strong and loving Father?

God isn't a powerful being somewhere far off, sitting and waiting to see how well we do. He is infinite Spirit. He is always present with each one of His children. And He does anything but wait idly! He is always in action for good. There is no stopping this. Just as you couldn't stop the Pythagorean theorem from governing right triangles, God can't be prevented from being omnipotent, omniactive Spirit. The Founder of the Christian Science Church, Mary Baker Eddy, explains in Science and Health with Key to the Scriptures, ``The Father in secret is unseen to the physical senses, but He knows all things and rewards according to motives, not according to speech'' (p. 15).

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People's actions may seem far from good, but God is still omnipresent, omnipotent. His goodness, His power, strength, and love are unchanging. Even a glimpse of what it means to be man made in God's image prepares us to see the active presence of God's love.

I saw this recently in the school experience of my son--an eighth grader. For several years he'd felt uninspired about his school; his academic work remained good, but the overall school environment troubled him greatly. So, completely on his own, he sought out information about boarding schools.

Of course, as his parents we supported his budding desire. He completed the necessary applications and mailed them, but he seemed discouraged by the size of the tuition. For many years, it has been my practice to look to God for ideas when any need arises. I encouraged my son to do this too. I asked him to appreciate what was good about what he had now and to continue to prepare for something better.

In my heart, I knew that we would find the resources for his education, including paying boarding school tuition if that was necessary. I prayed every day. But my prayer also opened my eyes to the good in the school he was already in. It reinforced my conviction that my son need never be unhappy.

And he did respond in a big way! He redoubled his academic efforts. Teachers' comments about him and his work glowed with praise. His feeling about the school grew more charitable. What had been nightly tales of complaint stopped entirely.

Because of his good work, he earned a generous scholarship to his new school. Both dad and son felt they'd learned valuable lessons about preparing, even when you can't see just what the next step will be.

Preparing our heart by trusting God's goodness is more than just building a positive attitude or occupying ourselves with happy busywork. It is recognizing that what is coming our way is always good from God.

When our lives are framed in the spiritual perspective, they are full of meaning. God's purpose is that we find more of this meaning each day. When we do so, we find such an intensity in God's love, such an influx of spiritual power and discipline, that our own efforts and discipline grow. And it is God's law that ability and opportunity go hand in hand.

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