WHEN Job, in his search for peace, cried out for the place of wisdom and understanding, the Bible tells us he found it in acknowledging the presence and power of God. He proclaimed, ''God understandeth the way thereof, and he knoweth the place thereof'' (Job 28:23)
Can we find this place? Yes! Christ Jesus not only assures us that we can but tells us where to look. He said, Luke's Gospel records, ''The kingdom of God is within you'' (17:21). The harmony that comes from God is already within us, within our own thoughts. He gives it to us, and we can never lose it. We don't always see this fact, though, so we may need to do a better job of heeding the advice of Mary Baker Eddy, the Discoverer and Founder of Christian Science. She tells us in her book Science and Health with Key to the Scriptures, ''Your decisions will master you, whichever direction they take.'' And she adds in the next paragraph: ''The issues of pain or pleasure must come through mind, and like a watchman forsaking his post, we admit the intruding belief, forgetting that through divine help, we can forbid this entrance'' (pp. 392393).
No matter what the situation is, when something threatens our happiness and peace we can turn our thought to divine Love in prayer and realize that in the universe of Love--the only reality--there is nothing but harmony going on. Any discord that we are experiencing is not part of this spiritual reality, and we need go no further than our own thought to correct it. For example, if we find a constant stream of petty annoyances chipping away at our happiness, we can be certain that there are not two kinds of people--us and those others. Right where we are seeing annoying people and situations, right there is the universe of God, Love, which is peopled by His children, made in His image and likeness. They are--we all are--loved, loving and lovable. This is the eternal, provable reality.
At one time I found myself going over and over many things that I had found annoying. Then, suddenly the thought came: ''Hey, wait a minute. You know better than that. Instead of justifying your feelings, how about healing them?''
What an eye-opener that was! The thoughts I was entertaining of others certainly were contrary to what I was learning of my own identity as a child of God from studying the Bible and Science and Health. I had only recently been studying the passage in Mark's Gospel where Christ Jesus urges us to obey the Old Testament command ''Thou shalt love thy neighbour as thyself'' (see Mark 12:31 and Leviticus 19:18).
This challenged me to ask myself: ''Do you think those people are just as much children of God as you are?'' It certainly didn't seem as if I were acting as though I did. My study of spiritual truths was of no benefit to me if the truths were not put into practice in my life. I couldn't just try to apply the truths I was learning; I had to actually apply them to every facet of my experience. As I prayed further, I realized that since in the universe of God there is nothing but harmony going on, I didn't need to accept discord as any part of my experience. I could refuse to give it a foothold in my thought.
In a short time, my grocery trips became more harmonious. One day an incident showed me vividly how much progress I had made. A worker was loosening a large metal shelf bracket. It slipped out of his grasp and landed on the top of my foot. At first, because of the pain, it seemed impossible to walk or complete my trip through the checkout counter. But I felt no temptation to be upset by the incident. Instead I immediately prayed--and I also reassured the young man that I was perfectly all right. I proceeded through the checkout counter free from pain. Later, when I removed my hosiery, I noticed that there wasn't a mark on my foot.
Another time a shopper and I had a slight mix-up with our carts in the parking lot. I laughed and the man looked at me and said, ''I've never seen such a joyous expression on anybody's face. Are you always that happy?'' And I could truthfully answer ''Yes.''