Seeing a way forward
A Christian Science perspective: When obstacles seem insurmountable, perfect faith can give us power to proceed.
What can you do when a path you’ve taken – or want to take – in life seems obstructed? A career path thwarted? A marriage crumbling? An illness worsening?
The Bible gives one answer in Hebrews 11:1 – 12:3. This passage talks about faith. Paul wrote: “Now faith is confidence in what we hope for and assurance about what we do not see. This is what the ancients were commended for” (Hebrews 11:1, 2, New International Version). The King James version of the Bible strengthens the meaning: “Now faith is the substance of things hoped for, the evidence of things not seen.”
Then Paul recounted some of the best known names from the Hebrew Scriptures: Noah, Abraham, Sarah, Joseph, Moses, David, and more. He wrote about how each of these individuals fought hardship and daunting obstacles on their way forward, and how each prevailed, in one way or another, by trusting what the physical eye could not see.
He ended the passage by holding up Christ Jesus as the best example of pressing forward through faith. He called Jesus “the pioneer and perfecter of faith” and said, “For the joy set before him he endured the cross, scorning its shame, and sat down at the right hand of the throne of God.” (Hebrews 12:2, NIV)
My study of Christian Science has helped me understand that perfect faith takes us far beyond blind belief. And it’s not mere positive thinking. It is an absolute trust in God, which is a natural outcome of our deepening love for and understanding of God. It is the effect of divine Love working in us and with us, and is therefore attainable by all.
In the opening sentence of “Science and Health with Key to the Scriptures,” Mary Baker Eddy wrote, “The prayer that reforms the sinner and heals the sick is an absolute faith that all things are possible to God, – a spiritual understanding of Him, an unselfed love” (p. 1). This sentence says to me that absolute or perfect faith is a deep love for God that trusts all to His care, and that this love and trust are attained through a spiritual understanding of who and what God is.
The Bible reveals God as Love, Spirit, divine Mind, the only lawgiver, as ever-present good, who always provides a pathway forward for us. Its pages illustrate again and again what is possible when we recognize our oneness with this supreme, all-good God.
Who could ever have foreseen how Moses would lead the children of Israel out of Egypt? On more than one occasion, retreat seemed to be his only option. But Moses pressed on through a spiritual understanding of the supremacy and omnipotence of God’s goodness. He understood that the fate of Israel was not in his hands, but in God’s hands, and followed faithfully where God led him. He was guided not by the evidence presented to him by the material senses, but by spiritual sense.
Jesus understood his relationship to God – and everyone’s – better than anyone else who has ever lived. As a result, he was able to heal multitudes. He faced ridicule and persecution – and ultimately crucifixion – not without human struggle. But he also had steadfast confidence that he was standing with God, divine Love, and this perfect faith would enable him to go forward. And it did. His Father-Mother God supported and led Jesus step by step through the resurrection and ascension.
I’ve seen the power of absolute faith – of a spiritual understanding of God – in my own life. I was once faced with two big projects in my career, both of which required me to go into uncharted territory professionally. While I was struggling to find the courage to take up these projects, I noticed an abnormal growth on my body. The growth was more frightening to me than either project. I was feeling more than a little overwhelmed.
There is a hymn which says, “Fear shall have no more dominion./ God is All, and heaven is here.” (Rosemary B. Hackett, Christian Science Hymnal, No. 181). I affirmed that if God is All, there is no room for anything else, no room for imperfection or abnormality, and no room for fear in divine Love. I also knew that God’s children, being made in His likeness, reflect God’s infinite ability and power. As those spiritual heroes in the Bible did, I decided to rely on the fact that no problem or task is too big for omnipotence!
Over the next few weeks, these prayers quieted my fear on all fronts. Rising above fear healed me of the abnormal growth – it simply fell away. And I was able, through continued spiritual listening, to see how to go forward into both projects with poise and success.Jesus said faith “as a grain of mustard seed” would move mountains (Matthew 17:20). Even the least understanding of God brings healing. This truth can be applied to overcome obstacles of all kinds, whether they appear to be molehills or mountains. This is true for individuals, families, and nations.