A first step

WHO has not occasionally faced a seemingly insurmountable task and discovered that the best plan of attack is to take a single step, and to continue taking such steps? In cleaning a cluttered house or clearing a desk, such an approach usually leads to satisfying solutions. But there are other kinds of troubles (business, financial, relational) that often seem so involved and complicated that not even a first step is apparent. In such instances, these words of Mary Baker Eddy, the Discoverer and Founder of Christian Science, offer a first step and succeeding steps: ``Step by step will those who trust Him find that `God is our refuge and strength, a very present help in trouble.' '' 1 Prayerfully, humbly trusting God is a first step toward a solution to even an extremely complicated problem. How can we learn to trust Him more? Throughout the Scriptures are wonderfully reassuring promises of the blessings that result from trusting God. The psalmists and Old Testament prophets offer timeless assurance and guidance in words such as these of Isaiah: ``Trust ye in the Lord for ever: for in the Lord JEHOVAH is everlasting strength.'' 2 And this counsel of Christ Jesus' assures us of the f ruits of trusting God: ``All things, whatsoever ye shall ask in prayer, believing, ye shall receive.'' 3 As we trust, as we learn to understandingly pray, basing our prayers on the conviction that God is totally good, that He is the sole cause and creator, our nearness to Him becomes more real in our thinking. And so does the realization that we are His offspring. He created us; we are the beloved children of His tender, constant care. Our conviction of our unity with Him enables us to discover the wisdom, the courage, the right forward steps we need, in order to solve whatever is confronting us. Just as patient perseverance is often required to undo a complex knot, so does trusting prayer reveal to us the step-by- step solution to even the most challenging problems. Alertness and spiritual receptivity are needed--a listening attitude rather than an argumentative one or one of listless defeatism. The need is to trust God, to pray, to listen for His thoughts. Human will and fear argue negatively to prevent our even taking a first step! But such thinking cannot impede or confuse us if we're alert to it and turn expectantly to God, earnestly desiring to express His will, His wisdom. The step that is always open for us, regardless of circumstances, is more trust in God, more understanding of His goodness, gained through prayer and purification of thought. Even though at times the entire solution to a knotty problem appears only in single steps, we eventually and inevitably find the complete solution as we are willing to turn to God and take these single steps. God is all-knowing, infinite Mind, the only genuine source of thought there is, the source of wisdom and intelligence, the source of every right idea. He is our very Mind at this moment, and we can begin to prove that fact. Speaking of the striving, advancing, present-day disciple, Mrs. Eddy writes: ``If honest, he will be in earnest from the start, and gain a little each day in the right direction, till at last he finishes his course with joy.'' 4 And, as an old, much-loved hymn reminds us: ``I do not ask to see / The distant scene; one step enough for me.'' 5 1 Science and Health with Key to the Scriptures, p. 444. 2 Isaiah 26:4. 3 Matthew 21:22. 4 Science and Health, p. 21. 5 Christian Science Hymnal, No. 169.

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