BOSTON — Is the grass in your yard so deep that you stumbled on an old camp of Dr. Livingstone's on your way to the mailbox? Is the car so dirty that you couldn't find it in the parking lot? Is it canned sauerkraut and stale saltines for supper if you don't get to the grocery store?
Something inside us tells us life isn't meant to be a ceaseless dash. Or a maddening, directionless calm. That we don't have to accept conditions like these as our gnarly lot, as part of an interminable life-struggle in which some assembly is always required and some tool we've never owned is always needed.
Every moment, good is as near as a call for help. God is always at hand. He can show, step by step, the how, where, and when of the solution to any problem. God does not give you uncontrollable kudzu for your yard, and your neighbors well-mannered Saint Augustine and fescue.
So many people have, on some shelf, desk, or table, what could be called an owner's manual for life: the Bible. It can help you retrieve something lost, give you the faith and understanding you need to heal a disease, or assist you in achieving financial security and stability. Finding the revelation of what God is in the Bible means it's no longer one step forward and three steps back (or even two forward and one back), but one steady step of progress. Our lives can be changed for the better.
Maybe your immediate reaction is that you probably have more problems than God has solutions. But God is all-knowing and all-powerful. In the words of the Bible: "He is in one mind, and who can turn him? and what his soul desireth, even that he doeth. For he performeth the thing that is appointed for me: and many such things are with him" (Job 23:13, 14). Beginning to accept this assurance helps - being patient and humble and trusting enough to listen for spiritual intuition. God is the divine Mind; His spiritual intelligence is equal to any problem we face, physical or emotional.
What you'll be listening for, waiting for, is not some ecstatic, mystical experience. It's a surety that God is here, that there's hope, that this or that is the direction to go in, the path to take. Life-improvement can come instantly or incrementally through such moments of inspiration. This includes the healing of sickness. It may come in an epiphany - or through a small, quiet thought. The bottom line is that to the sincere, prayerful heart, help will come.
If you are still feeling like you're drifting helplessly and aimlessly in life's horse latitudes, then something known as kedging is worth considering. Kedging is using an anchor to move a becalmed boat. For a large boat, the anchor has to be carried out some distance by another boat; for a small boat, the anchor can simply be thrown as far as possible from the boat itself. In either case, the anchor line is then pulled on from within the boat - and the boat slowly advances toward the point of anchorage. It's obviously slow and laborious. But it permits advancement, however modest.
What does this have to do with God? When all else fails in your life, if all you do is grasp one comforting fact about God - some Bible passage or a favorite hymn - and kedge with it, pull on it, you'll advance. Not only that, freshening breezes and favorable currents may come to your assistance sooner than you expect.
Maybe you remember a scene in the movie "The African Queen," where Humphrey Bogart and Katharine Hepburn are lying exhausted and despondent in their boat. They've been struggling with all they've got to sail out of the jungle, and they've given up. They're grounded in mud and rushes. Then the camera lifts, and we see that they're in fact only a few scant yards from the wide-open water, where it will be smooth sailing!
It's a little like that when we ask God to guide us out of the doldrums. "Be active, and, however slow, thy success is sure: toil is triumph ...," wrote Monitor founder Mary Baker Eddy ("Miscellaneous Writings," pg. 340). Solutions may seem to come to thought slowly, and only through a determined pulling of the anchor line. But progress will come. And because God's intelligence and love are fundamentally the cause of all progress, we can expect it to get less labored, more natural - more inspired.
(c) Copyright 1999. The Christian Science Publishing Society