God at Hand And Afar Off
MOST of us would probably reject the picture of God as a gigantic human figure sitting up in the sky somewhere above the stars. Isn't it ironic, though, that people today who scoff at the mythology of a remote Zeus often find themselves in situations where they believe divine aid is as distant as Mount Olympus -- beyond any immediate practical benefit? The further God appears to be from us, the more hopeless life can look. Struggling against worldly doubts about the present reality of God, we might well find ourselves urgently crying out in a time of emergency, as did a worried father to Christ Jesus, ``Lord, I believe; help thou mine unbelief.''1
Is there a way we can become more certain that God is, in fact, what the Bible says He is: an all-powerful and ever-present help?
On one occasion, as a brand-new employee, I definitely needed divine help. My boss had just left on vacation and would be unreachable for three weeks. A telephone call from a branch office at the opposite end of the country informed me that the manager there was also on vacation and that his subordinates were going to implement a new advertising campaign. It was to be put into place immediately, and some of the equipment had already been purchased.
It seemed shockingly clear to me that the plan included elements inappropriate for the new product it would introduce. All those thousands of miles between us loomed long and uncrossable, but even more of a stumbling block was the apparent differences in our thinking. It looked as if my new career could be in jeopardy before it ever got off the ground.
As I prayed, I began to feel more at peace. In Scripture we find, ``Am I a God at hand, saith the Lord, and not a God afar off?''2 And a statement by Mary Baker Eddy, the Discoverer and Founder of Christian Science, offered me further light by underscoring the true concept of God: ``In the Bible the word Spirit is so commonly applied to Deity, that Spirit and God are often regarded as synonymous terms; and it is thus they are uniformly used and understood in Christian Science.''3
I reasoned that because God is infinite Spirit, what He communicates -- His thoughts of love and justice -- remains independent of all mortal sense of time and distance. The fact that people around the world can be conscious of Godlike thoughts indicates that the essence of who we are transcends material identification and limitation. As children of Spirit, we're created in God's spiritual likeness, apart from fleshly appearances.
Turning wholeheartedly to this ever-present Spirit to protect the integrity not only of the business but of all those concerned, I began to see that every aspect of my own career was ensured by my allegiance to divine Spirit. Expressing God's thoughts determines one's true life purpose more than a job title ever could.
The next morning I received another telephone call. The circumstances had changed completely. The troubling elements had been changed, and the shadows of misrepresentation were gone. The equipment that had already been purchased could be used in a totally different and more useful way.
Whenever it looks as if everything is against us, our basic need is to understand better God's immediate presence. Whether the challenge is at hand or far-off, infinite Spirit is always with us, working in wondrous ways.
1Mark 9:24. 2Jeremiah 23:23. 3Science and Health with Key to the Scriptures, pp. 344-345.