'In four days, something good will happen'
Originally printed in the Christian Science Sentinel
That was the message of the chain letter that popped into my e-mail one Wednesday. All I had to do was forward the letter to five other people and then sit back and wait.
My initial reaction was to scoff, delete the letter, and go on with my work. "After all," I thought, "I know better than to think that some silly chain letter can determine my happiness." So, as fast as I was going through this cerebral dismissal, I was just as quickly moving the cursor to click the delete function.
And that's when the thought came to pray. In trying to make a habit of listening for God's direction, I've learned that it's important to heed these promptings. I let go of the mouse, sat back in my chair, and asked God for the message. It was immediately clear that it wasn't about whether to break the chain or not.
Several assumptions related to this (and most) chain letters distinctly came to mind: that good is limited, that we receive good through chance, that good takes time, and that good is out of our control. How we think about each of these assumptions contributes significantly to our sense of well-being. We can get at the truth about the four assumptions by reversing them.
Good is unlimited
God, the infinite source of all good, doesn't restrict the who, what, where, when, and how of that good. God's goodness is universal and unconditional, like the sunshine or the rain. Jesus taught us, "He maketh his sun to rise on the evil and on the good, and sendeth rain on the just and on the unjust" (Matt. 5:45). Everyone has unrestricted access to God's goodness.
Good is reliable
It would be superstitious to think that God would use something as random as a chain letter to provide or withhold good in the lives of His dear children. God does not test us or put us into situations that can confuse us or make us fearful. "Science and Health with Key to the Scriptures" assures us, "Accidents are unknown to God, or immortal Mind, and we must leave the mortal basis of belief and unite with the one Mind, in order to change the notion of chance to the proper sense of God's unerring direction and thus bring out harmony" (Mary Baker Eddy, pg. 424). The "notion of chance" can be refuted effectively with the acknowledgment of God's unerring good direction.
Good is always available
The good God has for us isn't limited to a specific time, as in the "four days" of the e-mail I received. We don't have to wait for it. Nor does God make offers for a limited time only. We can trust that God has already provided all good for all His children, and that we experience this divine good now.
Good is controlled by God
Even though circumstances may appear quite the contrary, the fate of one person does not rest in the hands of someone else. ("Should I break the chain, or continue it? If I continue it, who should I send it to? Am I deciding who gets the good, and who doesn't?") When we strive to put our trust exclusively in God and His infinite, wise, tender, and loving goodness, we can prove that His plan includes prosperity and peace for all.
I've come to understand that I can trust God directly. My well-being isn't affected by random events, nor by any fearful, superstitious, or intellectual reactions associated with such events. I'm able to look beyond the limited perspective of the material senses and gain a broader, more spiritual view of life and its day-to-day activities. I've begun to realize that everything that is really good and worthwhile has its source and continuity in God. What isn't good or worthwhile is not of God's creating and is therefore something I have the right to refuse or reject.
I didn't forward the chain letter to anyone that Wednesday, and every day was good. Also, I did have a great Sunday, including attending church. There, I praised God for His unlimited, reliable, available, universal goodness - something we all can do each day.
(c) Copyright 2000. The Christian Science Publishing Society