Beyond Appearances

THE parking spaces at the credit union where I do business are marked ``C U MEMBERS ONLY." More than once I have thought, for a split second, that the sign said ``CUCUMBERS ONLY." We all know of situations where knowing what's actually true keeps us from believing what only looks true! Railroad tracks, for example, do not merge in the distance and the horizon is not the end of the world.

The greatest spiritual teacher known to man, Christ Jesus, warned, as John's Gospel tells us, ``Judge not according to the appearance, but judge righteous judgment." He restored health and harmony for multitudes where evidence of illness, privation, and sin clamored for acceptance. Appearances--whether of lack or disease, or even death--were overruled by what Jesus knew to be true of God's spiritual creation. On one occasion, John's Gospel records, Jesus gave God thanks and added, ``I knew that thou hear est me always." Do we believe that God hears us? Over and over the Bible shows us that He does.

A Christian Scientist studies the Bible carefully, striving to understand and live the truths it teaches. And refuting the mortal deceptions that would keep us from grasping the truth of our genuine, spiritual selfhood is a discipline well worth the effort. In Science and Health with Key to the Scriptures, Mary Baker Eddy, the Discoverer and Founder of Christian Science, comments: ``To corporeal sense, the sun appears to rise and set, and the earth to stand still; but astronomical science contradicts thi s, and explains the solar system as working on a different plan. All the evidence of physical sense and all the knowledge obtained from physical sense must yield to Science, to the immortal truth of all things."

When we discover that we are indeed, each one of us, the blessed image of God--spiritual and perfect--this spiritual fact gives us a sound basis for finding practical solutions to the difficulties that confront us. I vividly remember an occasion when I had to determine how I would react to a disruptive incident in my job. I was a caseworker in a welfare department. On one particular Friday the receptionist called me, saying a client of mine was demanding immediate attention and was creating an uproar.

I headed for the front desk with a prayer in my heart to see only God's child instead of a troublemaker. I wanted to be ``cool as a cucumber." I confronted a tall, belligerent person who was expressing hatred toward the system and everyone involved. I strove to remain calm and listen for an answer to my prayer in place of the screaming. Gradually she lowered her tones and grudgingly agreed to an appointment Monday morning--the earliest I could arrange one.

On Saturday I searched my Bible for assurance. I prayed to overcome the fear that I felt from having heard of caseworkers being assaulted in the interview rooms. Many healings over the years had given me ample proof that God, infinite Love, is never absent. I wasn't about to admit that this individual could be closed out from that benevolent presence.

I began to relax and trust God to care for both my client and me. The Monday interview went smoothly. The needed report was completed, and this individual learned the benefits of cooperation. And I became more alert to identify myself as a competent, confident servant of God, not harassed or vulnerable.

We can all maintain a true understanding of man's Godlike qualities through prayer. Nobody is a cucumber, nor is anyone a puppet of circumstance. We have the choice to think clearly, see through the false evidence, and be what God intends us to be.

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