The United States will soon have a new leader with the swearing in of Barack Obama as its 44th president. After the election, but before inauguration, he is known as the president-elect. Like presidents-elect in the past, he has the power and authority of the office in theory, but not in practice.
Our experience of God is often like that. We know who He is, and that by nature He is all-powerful, all-good, all-knowing, Love itself. We may attend church, read the Bible, even be able to quote great statements of spiritual truth, but in practice, God remains for us God-elect. Instead of acknowledging Him as supreme, we go about our daily activities retaining control, making decisions about our future, our finances, our healthcare, our relationships, based on our own perception of situations.
But somewhere in our experience it's necessary to allow for a transfer of power. An inauguration of a different kind must take place, one that recognizes God as supreme in practice, not just in theory. Mary Baker Eddy, a great spiritual thinker and founder of this newspaper, put it this way: "... let the reign of divine Truth, Life, and Love be established in me, and rule out of me all sin; and may Thy Word enrich the affections of all mankind, and govern them!" ("Manual of The Mother Church," p. 41).
The transfer swings on one small word: let. When we let God have the position of authority in our lives, we open our lives to the reign of Truth, Life, and Love; and the result is change – significant change – and healing. Our attitudes adjust as we grasp our true identity as God's perfect creation. Health is improved when we begin to understand God as the only source of life. And relationships are transformed as we see evidence around us of the amazing love God shows for all His creation. When this spiritual love permeates our own lives, it cannot help overflowing into our contacts with our neighbors – next door and around the world.
Most people would admit, even if reluctantly, that change of one kind or another is necessary in their lives. And those who study the Bible find a wealth of incentives in passages such as "Let patience have her perfect work, that ye may be perfect and entire, wanting nothing" (James 1:4), and "Let the peace of God rule in your hearts ... and be ye thankful" (Col. 3:15).
This call for patience was borne out a few weeks ago in the experience of a woman who'd been besieged with advertising for cheap airfares to various parts of the country. When one special offer coincided with the place where her son lives, she felt inclined to book a flight to visit him even though the timing was less than ideal. She was tempted to press the plan into her own mold and make it work, instead of letting God take over.
But from experience she knew that when something is right, there's a sense of peace and calm, not the inner churning she was experiencing. So she elected to place the experience in God's hands. She prayed about the decision, acknowledging that God's plan, which is always good and perfect, would take care of all the arrangements. During this time of waiting and praying, the special offer fell away, and she felt keenly that she'd lost something.
As the date of her "lost" booking approached, however, it became obvious that it would have been very difficult to be away because of work commitments. She was still thinking about this when her son called to say he had an unanticipated business trip that would bring him to her.
When we yield to the thought that God isn't just "God-elect" but is already an active power in our lives, we find that He is ready to guide us toward good every moment. Our prayers for all the world's leaders will be supported by God who is "in office" – fully able to "enrich the affections of all mankind, and govern them!"
The Lord reigns, let the earth be glad. Psalms 97:1, New International Version