In Our Midst

HAVE you ever felt that you were buried beneath an avalanche of problems, deadlines, and commitments -- with little hope of escape? I know I have, and it can be suffocating! The Bible makes it clear, though, that such problems do have solutions. It teaches about an invisible presence with us that can bring healing. This presence is the Christ, and it is always in our midst -- closer than any avalanche of difficulties.

Christ is that spirit of love and truth so evident in Christ Jesus' life. Think of the incidents recorded in the Bible in which this Christ-spirit came to people in the midst of serious difficulties and saved them. Consider the violent storm at sea that caught the disciples in their boat. They thought they would perish! But when they woke Christ Jesus, he immediately calmed both the wind and the waves. Then, there was the time the disciples were gathered together after Jesus' crucifixion. They believed that Jesus was dead and that their own lives were in danger! Yet Jesus came to them. John's Gospel records that he ``stood in the midst, and saith unto them, Peace be unto you.''

Since Christ, Truth, is universal and timeless, it's actually in our midst today just as it was in Bible times. And Mary Baker Eddy, the Discoverer and Founder of Christian Science, describes Christ in Science and Health with Key to the Scriptures as ``the divine manifestation of God, which comes to the flesh to destroy incarnate error.'' And elsewhere, in a poem, she speaks of Christ's nearness in these words: ``Dear Christ, forever here and near....''

As individuals and families we can learn to look to this loving, powerful presence of Christ in our midst for healing, guidance, and love. This reliance on the Christ, however, is best done as a daily practice; we shouldn't wait for that avalanche of trouble! God, our Maker, is infinite Spirit, and we are His spiritual offspring right now. And it is because God is always present that Christ is always present and active in our midst.

The big question is, of course, How can we allow the presence of the Christ to help us get out from under the load of difficulties we feel we face? I have a friend whose recent experience might help illustrate.

This is a person who loves to help others -- he doesn't shy away from responsibility. Once, near Christmas not long ago, he found himself saying ``Yes'' more often than he should have. Soon, he felt buried at work, at home, even at church. Then he became ill.

My friend prays regularly. But this time, with everything happening at once, prayer seemed difficult. Then this thought came to him: ``You don't have to do all of this!'' The Christ had answered his prayer with the immediate comfort that lifted his burden and enabled him to find the solutions he needed.

It wasn't that he could suddenly back out of what he'd said he'd do. But he saw that the real doing of these things would come from what God was doing.

This was something he could understand, and soon the illness he had been feeling left. And then, one by one, unique ways of completing the tasks he'd agreed to appeared. In one instance, someone else volunteered to do a task. In another, my friend found a way to do something more quickly than he'd expected. He attributes the sudden turn-around in this situation to the presence of Christ, illuminating his thought.

In my friend's case, Christ made itself known by its natural calmness and presence, revealing what was already there. So, too, in our lives we can turn to the Christ that is in our midst to uncover God's presence ever at hand.

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