Douglass collects a cookie

A certain Scottish terrier that lives at our house likes to go along when I do my drive-in banking. Douglass has come to expect the tellers to treat him to a dog biscuit, which we call a cookie. So he sticks his head out of the car window and wags his tail to remind them that it is due him and that he appreciates it. Moreover, if part of the cookie crumbles and drops between the front seats of the car, Douglass makes such a determined appeal for help, by snuffling, digging, and whining, that even if we're already back in traffic I find a safe place to pull over and retrieve it.

How often do our ''cookies'' - good things rightfully ours - elude our grasp and seem to stick tantalizingly out of reach? Then it seems we must either give them up, experience frustration in our efforts to recover them, or, like Douglass, appeal for help in collecting them.

My husband was caught in such a predicament when a client who owed a large sum of money did not respond to reminder notices. Then the client made promises that weren't kept. My husband and I were puzzled and somewhat hurt. We prayed as importunately in our way as Douglass pleads in his.

We didn't beg God to get our money for us. But we did petition Him to help us understand and prove that His children are invariably truthful and just, no matter what our disappointment might be tempting us to believe. We acknowledged and trusted God's Word in the Bible, that man is made in His own image and likeness.

The Scriptures say that God is ''a God of truth and without iniquity, just and right is he.'' n1 Then, the likeness of Truth, God, must be truthful, free from malicious motive, careless mistake, or deceitful deed - as ''just and right'' as Truth itself.

n1 Dueteronomy 32:4.

We endeavored to change our viewpoint of this client from the material sense record of denial and delay to the spiritual sense view of him as upright, fulfilling his debt with immediacy. We acknowledged that he was truthful, not because of a past or present material record of reliability, but because man is the eternally truthful child of God. After all, we reasoned, integrity comes not through human reputation but through divine reflection.

When we had regained our expectancy of good, my husband again telephoned about the debt. The one responsible for payment seemed genuinely shocked and sorry that the money had not yet been received. The check soon arrived.

We do need to expect good - and even to insist upon having it - as winningly and gratefully as Douglass does. Good is never really beyond our reach. Because good is God - divine Spirit, Mind, and Life - it actually fills all space. It is as near to us as spiritually right thinking and doing.

When temptation bids us believe we are separated from good, that someone or something is withholding it from us, we can refuse to give ground to that temptation, to supinely or grudgingly accept it or to blame ourselves and others. The truth is that man, God's likeness, cannot be separated from whatever God gives. As we draw into accord with a spiritual understanding of God, we awake from the material dream-sense of insufficiency to the realization that al, creation reflects the free circulation of infinite, eternal good.

Christ Jesus understood the perfectly balanced spiritual law of supply and demand so well that he could declare, ''All that the Father giveth me shall come to me.'' n2 The Master gave impressive proofs of his conviction, feeding more than five thousand people with but a few loaves and fishes. n3

n2 John 6:37.

n3 See Matthew 14:14-21.

An earnest follower of Jesus, Mary Baker Eddy, the Discoverer and Founder of Christian Science, understood that nothing but ignorance and misguided belief in evil could seem to exclude anyone from perfection. She writes, ''Wholly apart from this mortal dream, this illusion and delusion of sense, Christian Science comes to reveal man as God's image, His idea, coexistent with Him - God giving all and man having all that God gives.'' n4

n4 The First Church of Christ, Scientist, and Miscellany, p. 5.

Loving our neighbors and ourselves by accepting and insisting that all reflect only good, we pay our debts by forgiving our debtors and collect, so to speak, our divine dues of all good and only good. DAILY BIBLE VERSE The Lord shall give that which is good. Psalms 85:12

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