In his autobiography, Nelson Mandela wrote about the struggle to overcome apartheid in South Africa and all the challenges people faced on the road to freedom. Toward the end, he commented, "The brave man is not he who does not feel afraid, but he who conquers that fear" ("Long Walk to Freedom: The Autobiography of Nelson Mandela").
At this moment in history, the global economy is struggling to achieve a new kind of freedom, a more balanced and intelligent relationship among nations. The stock markets around the world reflect that struggle, and their ups and downs reflect the hopes and fears of people in many nations. In this transition, courage to conquer fear and go forward is vital.
In a very real sense, the issue isn't so much one of restarting the economy or even deciding which troubled companies to bail out. It's opening our hearts to a totally different way to measure prosperity and find hope. Mary Baker Eddy, who founded this newspaper, wrote, "The right way wins the right of way, even the way of Truth and Love whereby all our debts are paid, mankind blessed, and God glorified" ("The First Church of Christ, Scientist, and Miscellany," p. 232).
What is this right way? During his ministry Christ Jesus declared, "I am the way, the truth, and the life: no man cometh unto the Father, but by me" (John 14:6). The Christ way is the way of love for God and for one's neighbor, the way of patience, humility, and trust in God's goodness, the way of healing. It is also the way of courage and unwillingness to believe that evil can ever have the last word.
To walk this way is to gain a totally different perspective. It takes one away from the ups and downs, the fearful dread, and gradually builds up hope in a spiritual way of seeing things and of following God's guidance.
This is a very practical road. If you look at Jesus' life, you'll find that his perceptions were always guided by the Christ way. Where his disciples saw lack, he saw enough food to feed 5,000 people; where they saw a terrifying storm, he felt so at peace that he was asleep; where they saw endless crowds of sick people, Jesus saw the perfect, spiritual sons and daughters of God.
Even more impressive, where people saw a man who had been dead in a tomb for four days, Jesus turned to his Father (and ours) and said, "Father, I thank thee that thou hast heard me" (John 11:41). And then he called Lazarus forth from his tomb, fully restored to life.
This Christ way can also set free from death businesses that seem moribund, economies that are struggling, individuals who are desperate. Death is not a solution, but divine Life is. All who are in trouble can turn to this Life and find strength. And those who are praying for the economies can declare the power of Life to renew, refresh, and revitalize the businesses and the thoughts of the nations.
All who are fearful can turn to divine Love and let it gently enfold them in its conviction that only good is possible. This spiritual fact can reverse mistakes and lead those who trust it into new opportunities for progress. Each of us is a child of God, with a divinely appointed purpose.
For those who feel they are failures (or have failed others) it's helpful to recognize that Jesus never called anyone by that name, even those who had actually done wrong. Rather, he restored them to express their true relation to their Father-Mother God. And those who are proud of their personal achievements can consider the parable of the good Samaritan and offer help to those in need. This, too, is the Christ way.
The path ahead may not be an easy one, and the road to recovery may be long. But as we walk the Christ way, we will find the sustenance and strength that supported Jesus, and we will come safely home.