Facing facts

We're sometimes advised to face facts, and there's real wisdom in that counsel. Someone who is dishonest, for example, must at some point confront the fact that dishonesty is wrong, opposed both to human and divine law, and that it can never forward one's well-being.

But sometimes the ''facts'' we're told to face aren't, in the truest sense, facts at all, though they're generally labeled as such. Someone may be told, for instance, that he's saddled with a particular disease or hereditary weakness and that there's nothing he can do about it - he must face facts. Another, searching for a job, may be resigned to the ''fact'' that he's a victim of economic conditions. Another may feel that because of elements beyond his control, happiness must continue to elude him - he has no choice but to face the cold, hard facts of reality.

Why aren't these circumstances genuine facts? Because they deny God's infinite goodness, supreme power, and unfailing care for His creation. They say, in effect, Yes, there's a God, and He is good, but this situation is beyond His control - somehow outside His government. Yet the Bible represents God as saying , ''I the Lord thy God will hold thy right hand, saying unto thee, Fear not; I will help thee.'' n1

n1 Isaish 41:13.

The Life of the Master, Christ Jesus, illustrated this unfailing help. Jesus defied appearances, disproving through his healing works the so-called facts of incurability and lack. He once told his disciples, ''With God all things are possible.'' n2 And as he showed, this fact, this healing truth, supersedes even the most persuasive evidence to the contrary.

n2 Matthew 19:26.

Jesus was demonstrating the authority ofspiritualm facts, transcending what human opinion and analysis - a mere physical view of things - call reality. What are these facts, these truths? The Biblical teaching that there is just one God who is infinite Love, perfect good. The teaching that God is Spirit and that man is God's image, inseparable from his creator, having dominion over all.

These truths may seem abstract and irrelevant in view of rampant human suffering. But they're the very remedy for that suffering, as the Master so convincingly illustrated.

There's a deeper sense, then, in which we can, and ultimately must, face facts. Certainly we need to face up to what poses as reality, to the sin and suffering and injustice so evident around us. But then we need to look, through prayer, beyond appearances, beyond the heart-rending phenomena of materiality to spiritual reality, to the actual facts of God and man. Doing so, we're humbly worshiping the one God in obedience to the first commandment, because we're refusing to accept the belief that God is either responsible for or has permitted evil. We're acknowledging the true nature of His creation as spiritual and ideal, as governed solely by His law of good. We're recognizing that the appearance of conflict and suffering is a counterfeit of reality because it's a denial of God's goodness and infinite might.

The fervent, silent acknowledgment of man's uprightness, of his uninvadable harmony as God's spiritual offspring, is prayer that heals. It's prayer that brings into human view something of the uninterrupted concord of God's spiritual creation. Such prayer isn't escapism, a refusal to deal with events and circumstances. It does, however, provide the only genuine and lasting escape from the nightmare of materiality.

Mary Baker Eddy, the Discoverer and Founder of Christian Science, writes, ''The spiritual reality is the scientific fact in all things.'' n3 And elsewhere she says, ''If you wish to know the spiritual fact, you can discover it by reversing the material fable, be the fable pro or con, - be it in accord with your preconceptions or utterly contrary to them.'' n4

n3 Science and Health with key to the Scriptures, p. 207.

n4 Ibid., p. 129.

If we're confronted, then, with some challenge, we can take heart. Through divine authority we can begin, even if in small ways, to reverse the fables of materiality and experience healing. DAILY BIBLE VERSE The things which are seen are temporal; but the things which are not seen are eternal. II Corinthians 4:18

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