In many ways it's what we all need most, isn't it - the certainty that everything's going to be OK? The feeling of peace and security that confidence brings? The sureness that, despite the apparent odds, all will be well?
A New York Times article on J.K. Rowling's Harry Potter books saw this need for assurance as the basis of the books' popularity with children (Richard Bernstein, "The Reality of the Fantasy in the Harry Potter Stories," Nov. 30, 1999). It suggested that they share the basic message of the classic fairy tale, as discussed by Bruno Bettelheim: "... a struggle against severe difficulties in life is unavoidable, is an intrinsic part of human existence - but ... if one does not shy away, but steadfastly meets unexpected and often unjust hardships, one masters all obstacles and at the end emerges victorious.... Morality is not the issue in these tales but rather assurance that one can succeed."
So many people have found the Bible to be a powerful assurance book. It promises that an active, merciful, good, and supreme intelligence - the one divine Spirit, God, who created us - can be found to be totally in control of our lives. That God's sustaining and protecting power is always here and always reliable, no matter what the circumstances. It assures us that we will succeed because God loves us. That we are made in Her/His image and likeness. Whole. Perfect. Spiritual.
Jesus said, "Be ye therefore perfect, even as your Father which is in heaven is perfect" (Matt. 5:48). Taken as a statement of fact, as much as a command, few words more startling and reassuring have ever been uttered.
Jesus' spiritually intuitive view of life gave him power to heal in all ways: "Jesus beheld in Science the perfect man, who appeared to him where sinning mortal man appears to mortals.... and this correct view of man healed the sick" (Mary Baker Eddy, "Science and Health with Key to the Scriptures," pgs. 476-477).
Everybody can find resolution and healing in life in this spiritual, scientific way. The Principle of this resolution and healing is God alone, universal and eternal. God's presence with us is "a divine influence ever present in human consciousness" (Science and Health, pg. xi).
I've seen proof of this in my life. For example, not too long ago I had made some unwise financial decisions, and it seemed that I was going to pay big-time through losses in the stock market. I didn't know what to do. I was terrified. I felt sick.
I reached out to God, whom I've come to know as divine Love, for help. An article I read in The Christian Science Journal assured me that "our genuine, spiritual self is never on the brink of disaster or failure, never in danger of being wiped out." That "... we are in God's dependable care at all times." And this verse from the Bible promised: "Our God whom we serve is able to deliver us from the burning fiery furnace" (Dan. 3:17).
It wasn't easy. But gradually, my humble prayer to God replaced fear with conviction - the conviction that all was well.
A turning point in my state of fear came when I saw that God had made me in such a way that I could not be overwhelmed by anything bad. I was made by God to be the very expression of His good spiritual power. And so I had dominion over the situation. I felt the presence of the spiritual truth, calming my thoughts - rescuing me, releasing me from financial terror. Though the human circumstances hadn't changed, I felt a calm for which I was thankful beyond words.
During the next several days, I was able to calmly and patiently take practical steps that brought about a wonderful recovery.
I still have stocks, but this experience has prompted me to place my trust in God for my security and my income - and not in the stock market. I've felt the power of the biblical promise that "the work of righteousness shall be peace; and the effect of righteousness quietness and assurance for ever" (Isa. 32:17). That's something I wouldn't trade for the world.
(c) Copyright 2000. The Christian Science Publishing Society