On their journey to the Promised Land, the children of Israel had many daunting experiences. One was at the river Jordan, which they had to cross. God told Joshua, their leader: "As I was with Moses, so I will be with thee: I will not fail thee, nor forsake thee. . . . Be strong and of a good courage; be not afraid, neither be thou dismayed" (Joshua 1:5, 9). Joshua obeyed God.
The people followed the ark of the covenant of the Lord, symbolic of God's presence and leadership. They all passed through the riverbed dry-shod (see Joshua, chap. 3). They sanctified themselves. You might say that they purified their thought, turned away to some extent from a perilous situation, consecrating themselves to God and the great promise that lay before them. Through listening to God and obeying Him, they saw the way open up for them to move ahead.
Going forward in our lives is something we all want. Everyone seeks to enjoy life, to feel satisfied and at peace. But we, like the children of Israel, often become fearful. We may feel that we are alone and might be overwhelmed by some problem beyond our control. Science and Health with Key to the Scriptures is a book that has brought peace and confidence to people for over a hundred years. It reveals that a lot of our troubles stem from a misconception of who we are and who God is. It says we are spiritual, the image of God, the image of Love. We are really God's likeness, reflecting all the good that belongs to God. We have dominion over all the day's experiences.
Science and Health, written by Mary Baker Eddy, is the textbook of Christian Science, which reveals a God of total goodness. He knows nothing about evil. God created all, but created nothing unlike Himself. In spite of everything the five physical senses may be indicating, the truth of our very being is wholly good. Each of us has an indestructible, spiritual relationship to this supreme power-one that no circumstance can break.
We are never, ever doing anything alone, since God is always with us. But in order to see proof of this fact, we need to know it; otherwise our lives are liable to remain at a standstill. Like the children of Israel, we can trust the most powerful force in the universe. Then we'll go forward without being nearly so afraid as we used to be.
Long after the children of Israel reached the Promised Land, Christ Jesus described himself as "the way, the truth, and the life" (John 14:6). He taught more about the way forward, the way out of problems, the way to find God, who is our Life. Jesus was often found saying, "Fear not," or something of that nature. A wholehearted love for God and our neighbor, such as Jesus exemplified, includes love for ourselves as well. This universal love heals fear.
Fear prevented me from playing the piano in public for many years. From Science and Health I began to learn things about myself I had never known before-that I could express all the beautiful graces of God because they were mine by reflection. That I was never alone. That God loved me and would never abandon me. That if I expressed the love of God in good thoughts and deeds, this would destroy fear.
I prayed for direction, and answers came. I realized that a sense of myself as a material, limited mortal was hindering me. I discovered that the more love I expressed, the less selfishness I felt-and the less fear. I poured love into my musical activities. I loved the audience. I strove to be humble and listen for God's guidance. Before playing a solo part one evening, I listened in prayer. And this thought came: "The divine Mind has the power to express beautiful music through me." I played with complete freedom. And I have been free of fear at the piano ever since.
We find God's presence in inspired thoughts. He casts out fear and guides us every step of the way forward.