Where is God?

This is a vital question, at the very heart of our well-being. It's one that some ask in desperation, and others cynically, as though God couldn't possibly exist.

Certainly God can seem distant, even nonexistent, in the midst of loneliness, sickness, poverty; in the face of continuing threats to world peace. But the challenges we face, individually or collectively, don't disprove God's existence. Rather, they point to the pressing need to better understand Him as omnipresent Spirit and Love, to feel His presence and prove it in practical ways.

To the individual weighed down by the burdens of earthly existence, the idea of feeling God's presence may seem unrealistic. Yet it's in this very feeling of His nearness and loving care for man that afflictions dissolve. They dissolve because they're not the unbudging realities they seem to be. The Bible forcefully illustrates this fact, especially in its record of Christ Jesus' life and healing works.

A material sense of life sees things strictly in physical terms. It sees adverse conditions as fixed facts, beyond the reach of what it considers an abstract God. But when thought is uplifted through prayer to see things from a spiritual standpoint, to recognize something of God's goodness and of the true, ideal nature of His creation, troubles begin to recede. They recede because they never were substantial in God's sight, and because evil never did, for an instant, touch our actual being, made in His likeness. As Jesus conclusively proved, God is omnipresent good, forever excluding evil. Material life, with its suffering and injustice, is a misconception of true creation, and God has never stopped governing that creation in perfect harmony.

To translate these statements from theory into provable truth requires prayer and purification of thought. ''Be still, and know that I am God,'' n1 the Bible says. In the stillness of prayer, in which fear and the clamor of worldly thinking are silenced, we can feel God's presence and the reality of good. The false sense that insists misfortune is inescapable is just that - a false sense. It's mental darkness that's dispelled by the consciousness of God's nearness and of our unbroken harmony as His offspring.

n1 Psalms 46:10.

Jesus taught, ''When thou prayest, enter into thy closet, and when thou hast shut thy door, pray to thy Father which is in secret; and thy Father which seeth in secret shall reward thee openly.'' n2 In the closet of prayer, as we mentally listen for God's healing thoughts, we awake to the fact that the only condition permitted by our Father is uninterrupted spiritual harmony.

n2 Matthew 6:6.

To find God and the well-being that He alone confers is to admit that He does exist and that no circumstance is beyond His control. It's to recognize that the evil which our physical senses may insist is immovable is not true, even though the evidence may seem incontrovertible. It's to listen patiently for His thoughts and to subordinate the egotism of earthly, sensual thinking, which denies God and exalts evil.

This purification is itself a form of prayer, and it's essential to finding God. Preoccupation with physicality, for example, tends to blind us to the presence of Spirit and its concord. Such preoccupation is a dead-end viewpoint that simply can't discern God or the harmony of His creation.

''Material sense never helps mortals to understand Spirit, God,'' writes Mary Baker Eddy, the Discoverer and Founder of Christian Science. ''Through spiritual sense only, man comprehends and loves Deity.'' n3 And elsewhere she writes, in reference to Jesus' teaching about prayer: ''To enter into the heart of prayer, the door of the erring senses must be closed. Lips must be mute and materialism silent, that man may have audience with Spirit, the divine Principle, Love, which destroys all error.'' n4

n3 Science and Health with Key to the Scriptures, p. 481.

n4 Ibid., p. 15.

Where is God? He's here, at this moment. And to realize that fact we need to cultivate a spiritual sense of life through prayer and purification of thought. Then we'll find the help we need, and know our divine source to be unfailing. We'll also benefit humanity, which needs our silent, deeply felt acknowledgments of God's omnipresent power; our willingness to see beyond appearances to the reality of God's care for all. God Himself supports all our efforts in this direction, and crowns them with joy and healing. DAILY BIBLE VERSE The natural man receiveth not the things of the Spirit of God: for they are foolishness unto him: neither can he know them, because they are spiritually discerned. I Corinthians 2:14

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