A Firm Stand

Written for The Christian Science Monitor

I often struggled with anxiety. When difficulties arose, I treated them as catastrophes and wondered how I would survive. I now feel anxiety comes from a mistaken notion that a given problem is insurmountable-that somehow evil is "out there" and has power to upset home, business, marriage, health. And I have learned that when I bear in mind the fact that I am in God's presence, I find resolution.

When my husband wanted a divorce, I first thought my entire world was crumbling. But even in my agitated state, I remembered something Paul, an apostle of Christ, told the young Christian Church at Philippi: "Do not be anxious about anything, but in everything, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God" (Philippians 4:6, New International Version). The truth is, even when a crisis looms large, we can turn to God for help and learn that there is no other power than His. Because God is ever-present, all-encompassing good, there is no room for anything else; any evil is exposed as a lie, powerless to harm.

This truth is a source of healing. Christian Science, the law of God-which Mary Baker Eddy discovered and set forth in her book Science and Health with Key to the Scriptures-shows why.

At the time my husband left, I consulted a friend, a fellow Christian Scientist, who helped me pray and stay calm. Although it first seemed impossible, I did my best to hold in my thought a basic truth about my husband and me-that although circumstances appeared otherwise, we both manifested God's perfect intelligence and love, so there was no problem whatsoever that couldn't be resolved. Keeping aware of this was a way for me to pray specifically about this situation. I trusted God. Confusing, upsetting feelings of hopelessness blew around me like a whirlwind, but I continued to pray.

Finally I let go of the fear, frustration, and anger. And the uncertainties about my life melted away. Within a few days, my husband and I were together, working to resolve our differences. We began to find new ways to communicate. I learned I needed to let go of some stubbornness and selfishness I hadn't been aware of in myself. Since that time, although every once in a while things might seem scary or unsettled between us, my husband and I are both much more loving and understanding toward each other, and our commitment to the marriage has deepened.

Now, whenever a hint of possible conflict arises with anyone, I hold to what I learned in that experience: a wholehearted trust in God heals anxiety and restores relationships. Mrs. Eddy wrote in Science and Health: "Human sense may well marvel at discord, while, to a diviner sense, harmony is the real and discord the unreal. We may well be astonished at sin, sickness, and death. We may well be perplexed at human fear; and still more astounded at hatred, which lifts its hydra head, showing its horns in the many inventions of evil. But why should we stand aghast at nothingness?" (p. 563).

I know from experience that reliance on God's love does constitute an ironclad defense against evil thoughts and evil human conditions. The New International Version says, " 'Though the mountains be shaken and the hills be removed, yet my unfailing love for you will not be shaken nor my covenant of peace be removed,' says the LORD, who has compassion on you." That's a translation of a verse from Isaiah in the Bible (54:10). Science and Health refers to this practical concept of unshakability in a way that has become useful to me when I face anxious situations in my daily life: "When the illusion of sickness or sin tempts you, cling steadfastly to God and His idea. Allow nothing but His likeness to abide in your thought. Let neither fear nor doubt overshadow your clear sense and calm trust, that the recognition of life harmonious-as Life eternally is-can destroy any painful sense of, or belief in, that which Life is not" (p. 495).

As I humbly ask God to guide me, I know that no matter what I face, a firm stand in understanding the good, all-powerful nature of God will restore balance and harmony in my life

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