AS a child, a friend of mine first learned the Lord's Prayer by repeating it every day with a neighbor boy. This was definitely a good thing, although they whipped through the prayer so quickly that they had no time to think about the meaning behind the prayer's words. Later, as a pupil in the Christian Science Sunday School, my friend grew to love and understand the meaning underlying each line of the prayer. That is, all but the last line: ``For thine is the kingdom, and the power, and the glory, for ever'' (Matthew 6:13). For some reason, the real meaning of these words seemed to escape her.
But when she was an adult, a dramatic event occurred while she was at work as a telegraph operator. As her fingers worked at her telegraph machine, an electrical short caused a high-voltage surge to spread through the metal, freezing her hands to the machine. Instantly, the words ``Thine is the power!'' burst forth in her thought. At once her hands fell from the machine and she was free. Not only was she basically unaffected, but by the next day nearly all evidence of burn on her hands had disappeared. Her supervisor and co-workers were amazed. But she attributed the healing to the power of God.
One of the age-old descriptions of God is ``the Almighty.'' When the question ``What is the Almighty really like?'' arises, the Bible can answer. He is infinite Spirit, present everywhere, at all times. God is eternal and does not change. And most important, He is the all-powerful. To know God as omnipotent is necessary to knowing Him at all.
The Bible presents this idea of omnipotence over and over in experience and healing. Thousands of years unfold in its record. Yet, that message of God's omnipotence doesn't change. There are accounts of victory through God's might over all sorts of threats of another power--the warrior Goliath, for example, or the lions' den, the fiery furnace. There are triumphs over disasters such as famine and flood and over repressive governments and unjust social and religious laws. And of course we have Christ Jesus' demonstrations of God's power over illness, sin, and even death. Thus the Bible illustrates God's goodness and love as the only power. The effect of this truth is that what appears to be the power of evil is shown to be not power at all. It is but the deceptive appearance of power.
The Founder of Christian Science, Mary Baker Eddy, a devout student of the Bible, discovered that illness, accident, and injury still yield to the truth of God's omnipotence, as they did in Jesus' day. In her book Science and Health with Key to the Scriptures, she writes, ``There is no power apart from God. Omnipotence has all-power, and to acknowledge any other power is to dishonor God'' (p. 228). And elsewhere in this book, she states, ``Evil is not power. It is a mockery of strength, which erelong betrays its weakness and falls, never to rise'' (p. 192).
Displays of worldly power--be it military or muscular or financial or artistic--are often meant to impress or put down someone else. This betrays a view of man as a mortal among other mortals, competing desperately for dominance and far separated from the goodness of God. Within this viewpoint, worldly power can turn on us, leaving us in the grip of accident, disease, or some other trauma.
In truth, though, God, Spirit, makes man in His image. We are His spiritual creation. Power is spiritual and it belongs to God. Therefore man is subject only to the power of good inherent in God's being. This fact--coming in words from the closing line of the Lord's Prayer--freed my friend in the experience recounted above.
Of course, we need to watch that we do not think and act in ways that would seem to put us outside of God's power. Selfishness, greed, lust, hatred, or even rampant fear may pose as sources of might in our life or in others'. They would hide from our thought the reality and presence of God's power. But as we yield to His omnipotence, the impotence of these attitudes is clear. In our day-to-day affairs, as we express our inherent spiritual goodness, in honesty, alertness, unselfishness, we keep in line with the working of God's power. And no supposed worldly force can actually ever remove one of God's children from His loving and omnipotent care.