ONE of the signs of spring in the northern United States seems to be road construction. Commuting through construction bottlenecks is seldom fun. The sun beats down on the car as the line of vehicles gets longer and longer. Our watches mark off the time as we get later and later or hotter and hotter. Isn't this sometimes what our daily routine can seem like? Everything is going fairly smoothly when suddenly a whole series of obstacles arises. Perhaps a problem at work resists resolution or a loved one is ill or a friend is cross with us. Whatever the problem is, the road of our lives seems torn up and the going rough.
One of our best allies in such experiences is prayer. Through prayer we can begin to gain a better understanding of God and of our relationship to Him. As this knowledge takes root in our thoughts, we can begin to see an answer to our troubles.
I often turn to the book of Psalms. The Psalmist's words comfort me because he spoke not only of his troubles but also about the certainty of God's help. Psalm 18 says, ``It is God that girdeth me with strength, and maketh my way perfect.'' This acknowledgment that strength comes from God is important because in times of challenge we may feel cut off from all help, even from God.
For example, one night while traveling through the Texas desert I became terribly ill. I was able to find a telephone and call a Christian Science friend, who agreed to pray with me. At the time, I faced several hours of driving to reach the next town. I felt very alone. Then my friend concluded our conversation with this statement: ``We go in the strength of the Lord.''
This reminded me that God really was with me and that as my Father, He was taking care of me. I dimly grasped the fact that I could rely on God and His law. This divine law is one of harmony -- the expectation that God's love really does prevail and that this love is tangible and will bring healing to our lives.
On that long drive I had a lot of time to think about God and His Christ, His healing message to me and to humanity. This Christ is the truth that Christ Jesus taught, and it is as relevant today as it was then. As Mary Baker Eddy1 explains in Science and Health with Key to the Scriptures, ``The advent of Jesus of Nazareth marked the first century of the Christian era, but the Christ is without beginning of years or end of days.''2 As I felt more of the presence of Christ and began to discern more clearly that I really was under God's government, I found my physical condition improving markedly. By the next morning, I was well.
Each of us may face different examples of ``road construction'' -- obstacles that would block our progress. In my case the obstruction was illness. In someone else's case it may be something else. Yet in each case the power of God can keep the road clear for progress.
We can seek to know the presence of His Christ, the mediator between God and man. As we actively strive to cultivate Christliness, we are living as God's children; we are rejecting the belief that we can somehow be cut off from God, Mind, or from each other. We may need great persistence in our prayers. But one of the benefits of such ``road construction'' is the healing it brings. And that will make our journey forward possible, and maybe even easier.
1The Discoverer and Founder of Christian Science. 2Science and Health, p. 333.