ONE of my earliest childhood memories is of some grass snakes that hatched in our garden shed. I opened the door and saw a dozen or more tiny green snakes slithering all over the floor. They were, of course, completely harmless, yet I was tearful and shaking as though I were in danger.Later I learned of God's all-encompassing love and caught sight of the powerful truth that we can never be outside God's protection and care, for in reality we are His loved children, governed by His law of good. I remember reading in the Bible, in the book of Exodus, about Moses, the great Hebrew leader. Moses was learning many lessons in trust and courage as he prepared to lead the children of Israel out of their slavery in Egypt. Yet because of his fear and his feeling of personal inadequacy, Moses required a special sign that would convince the people that God had indeed appeared to him. He was told to throw down his shepherd's rod on the ground, and the rod became a serpent. To Moses the very rod that represented his calling seemed like a threat. But he was instructed to take the serpent by the tail, and when he obeyed, the serpent became a rod again. Moses' own faith was strengthened because he had exercised his God-given authority. I got my first glimpse of the actual power of God and the mental and delusive nature of evil from this story. I saw that there is really nothing to fear, for God is always in full control of His spiritual creation. Snakes and serpents are not an everyday occurrence for most of us, but there are still many situations and systems of thought--occultism, hypnotism, and witchcraft, to name a few--that make people afraid today. Mary Baker Eddy, who discovered and founded Christian Science, comments on Moses' experience in Science and Health with Key to the Scriptures: "When, led by wisdom to cast down his rod, he saw it become a serpent, Moses fled before it; but wisdom bade him come back and handle the serpent, and then Moses' fear departed. In this incident was seen the actuality of Science. Matter was shown to be a belief only. The serpent, evil, under wisdom's bidding, was destroyed through understanding divine Science, a nd this proof was a staff upon which to lean. We too can begin to understand the mental nature of human circumstances as we grasp more fully the actuality of God, Spirit, and His spiritual creation. The more we magnify good, which has its source in God, the less we are taken in by the delusion that evil is real or has the capacity to harm. Christ Jesus understood the mental nature of evil. He denounced evil as a lie, having no origin or cause in reality. Through the power of God, to which he bore witness so consistently, the Master was able to heal countless people of illness, incapacity, and sin. His divine nature, or Christ, at one with the Father, gave Jesus authority over evil, whatever form it took. To one struggling with pain or fear, evil may seem very real, but through persistent prayer and a constant desire to know and trust God more fully, we can awake from this deception. Christ, active in human consciousness, wakes us to the realization that we are in fact the children of God, abiding within the ambience of His love. The more we pray from the radical standpoint of the allness of God, good, and the nothingness of evil, the more we will free ourselves from fear. Then we will be able to make a real contribution to our world by helping to break the delusion that there is a power apart from God.
This is a condensed version of an editorial that appeared in the May 13 issue of the Christian Science Sentinel.