NOT long ago a young woman said to a Christian Scientist, very thoughtfully: ``You know, I'll believe in God when I have a really convincing proof of His existence.'' If spectacular, thunderbolt type experiences were the only way to be conscious of God's existence, then relatively few people would believe in Him. But there are everyday happenings that impressively reveal a power for good that isn't material or personal. True, people may shrug these off with the protest ``Oh, well, it would have happened anyway!'' But would it have happened if God didn't exist?
For example, a small, unexpected kindness from a stranger points to the grace of God in action and to the inherent goodness of man as God's image, as the Bible describes him. We may wonder, ``Whatever made him do that?''
Somebody else may bring to bear on a situation a little more gentleness or quiet strength or perception -- qualities that are quite different from personal charisma or egotistical self-assertion. And the question comes, ``What made her able to do that?''
These things convince us more and more of the power of goodness and make us more willing to attribute it to God as the source of all the good that man expresses. It isn't really surprising that we should become aware of God's goodness through each other, since man really exists to express God's nature. It seems as though we're fleshly mortals, operating on our own apart from God. But our true selfhood is God's very image, His spiritual likeness. In truth, then, man doesn't initiate anything by himself. He reflects the creativity of God, who is divine Love,the one infinite Mind, the source of all goodness.
Christ Jesus showed the world what God is. The people of his time expected their Messiah to come as a powerful human king, and failed to recognize him when he appeared as someone looking much like themselves but expressing and awakening in others the Godlike qualities of wisdom, mercy, justice, love. He showed these to be vital to his mission, including the healing of the sick.
The book of Matthew tells how convincing the people found one of Jesus' healings when he restored a man who had been paralyzed. ``When the multitudes saw it, they marvelled, and glorified God, which had given such power unto men.''1Mary Baker Eddy, the Discoverer and Founder of Christian Science, writes: ``All that worketh good is some manifestation of God asserting and developing good.''2 This is quite different from the view that man is the source of good, a self-centered mortal, proclaiming his successes proudly and putting his failures down to the fallibility of human nature.
As our sense of the infinite potentialof God's goodness grows, we pray to be more responsive to good, to be able to express more of it, and to discern more of it in others. This contrasts with the selforiented prayer that goes something like this: ``Dear God, this is what I want. Please fix it for me.'' A growing love of God and the desire to express His nature more fully bring more good into our experience, although not always in the form we anticipate. We realize too that weare deceiving ourselves if we believe we can leave God out of our lives and still hope for meaningful fulfillment and progress.
When we acknowledge and value the omnipresent goodness of God and expect to see it taking shape in our lives, we do find it. We rejoice more and more in the certainty that there really is a God.
1Matthew 9:8. 2Message to The Mother Church for 1900, p. 10.
You can find more articles like this one in the Christian Science Sentinel, a weekly magazine. DAILY BIBLE VERSE: They shall all know me, from the least of them unto the greatest of them, saith the Lord. Jeremiah 31:34