Replacing the `spirit of fear'
THERE seem to be a lot of circumstances that deserve our worry-- circumstances in our own lives or in the world that we feel are beyond our control or unusually difficult. Caring for the world around us, our loved ones, and ourselves is a vital part of Christianity. Yet we shouldn't let anxiety take the place of sincere caring. Anxiety would make us feel helpless. But we are never helpless in the face of adversity, no matter how grim things may seem. We can always turn to God--and that's a practical, effective step to take.
Anxiety develops when we give too much credence to circumstances and forget God. Our creator, and not the discord that would deny His goodness, deserves our undivided attention! This is not to ignore trouble but to recognize that what is told to us by the physical senses is not the actual truth of man. Our spiritual sense, cultivated through prayer, enables us to discern and prove the spiritual reality of God's care.
God has always been and continues to be our source for all good. There is no legitimate need we can have that He, infinite Spirit, cannot or does not satisfy. He is omnipresent, so that which He supplies to us is never really absent--though we need to realize this. No circumstance can supersede the love of God. No problem is insurmountable. God knows us as His dear offspring--the very expression of His perfect nature--and we can know Him as well. We become anxious because we have a limited sense of God. But we can naturally abandon this deceiving sense to embrace His bounty.
Christ Jesus strongly affirmed the power of God to do the things that people deem impossible. Once when speaking of our salvation he said, ``With men it is impossible, but not with God: for with God all things are possible.'' 1 Even though materiality argues that we're dependent on circumstances, no phase of discord is a part of our relationship to God, and therefore discord is not permanent. Feeling in prayer the presence of our creator as all good, as our loving Father-Mother, destroys fear and brings us the answers we need.
When my husband was working for his master's degree, which required his finishing a complex, lengthy thesis about a very new development in technology, he was having trouble getting the equipment he needed, and he feared he wouldn't finish in time. Also, since the subject was so new, he worried that he wouldn't have enough time to grasp the concepts adequately and be able to write an effective paper. These circumstances were sapping the joy he had had when first exploring this branch of technology.
After a thoughtful moment, it occurred to me to ask, ``Does God worry about you?'' The answer, of course, was ``No!'' We were able quickly to replace the worry with what we knew about God and man. Since God created us and He knows His own perfection, He knows of our perfection, too. He has no doubts about our ability to express Him--to express the intelligence, perceptiveness, strength, that are inherent in His nature.
My husband came across this quotation from Science and Health with Key to the Scriptures by Mary Baker Eddy:2 ``Science reveals the possibility of achieving all good, and sets mortals at work to discover what God has already done; but distrust of one's ability to gain the goodness desired and to bring out better and higher results, often hampers the trial of one's wings and ensures failure at the outset.'' 3
We reasoned that the possibility of achieving all good was present now. We recognized that worry is a form of distrusting God, since it claims that there is something that God cannot do--something outside the control of divine Love. The spiritual fact is that God did finish His creation. We are right now, in our true selfhood, complete and in His care. With this trust and a renewed sense of joy, my husband was able to enthusiastically finish his work, and his adviser and company supervisor both considered his thesis to be an excellent one.
A familiar Bible verse reinforces the point: ``God hath not given us the spirit of fear; but of power, and of love, and of a sound mind.'' 4 God has not created us subject to arbitrary forces and unknown influences. He did not make us mortal at all. This would indeed give us much to be anxious about--the ``spirit of fear.'' But this is not God's doing, because God is good alone; and man, as God has actually made him, is the unending expression of that good. We can declare with Paul our God-given spirit ``of power, and of love, and of a sound mind,'' and rejoice!
1 Mark 10:27. 2 The Discoverer and Founder of Christian Science. 3 Science and Health, p. 260. 4 II Timothy 1:7.