`TWENTY minutes more, you say?" I was being informed at lunchtime of a scheduling change in the afternoon portion of an all-day business meeting I was conducting. I had carefully planned to fill the time given. Now I was expected to come up with twenty more minutes of activity on short notice. Because I knew I would need God's help to find the solution, I began to pray.
I had prayed to let God direct every detail of the initial preparation for the meeting. The way ideas had come to provide the necessary material for the meeting had been so natural and orderly. God's hand had been so evident that I had been delighted to acknowledge, as a hymn in the Christian Science Hymnal puts it, ``Thy hand in all things I behold, / And all things in Thy hand."
As I prayed, I felt sure I would have what was needed to fill that time productively. It was as though God were saying: ``Don't forget that spontaneity as well as preparedness is characteristic of My nature. Just be sure to respond to every idea I give you this afternoon, and the timing will be perfect." I went back to the meeting with confidence and did find wonderful, spontaneous ideas coming to me. We ended the meeting at just one minute after the scheduled time.
Of course, it isn't just in meetings or public-speaking engagements that we find a need to feel God's spontaneity. A teacher in a classroom, a secretary composing a letter, a businessman trying to find solutions agreeable in a negotiation, a parent endeavoring to support a child's progress --all of us, every day, need spontaneity! It can be so helpful to see that man's true nature as the very likeness of God, divine Spirit, is a perfect expression of the creative, responsible characteristics of God. God being all, His spiritual idea, man, reflects all the attributes of God. These attributes are perfectly integrated. There can't be a way for some of them to be present while others are missing. Reflection can't be selective or exclusionary. Qualities such as intuition and creativity also express focus and precision. Each spiritual attribute of God expresses each other attribute. And all that belongs to the original-- God--must of necessity appear in man, His image. So each of us, as the image of God, is comp lete in his or her reflection of every desirable, needed, helpful, and gloriously Godlike trait.
Christ Jesus exemplified the perfect wholeness of his spiritual selfhood masterfully throughout his healing mission. For example, he knew just when to take strong action, as when he turned over the tables of the money-changers in the temple. And he also knew how to change people's hearts with a few words, as when he gave an impromptu lesson, known today as the Sermon on the Mount, in such powerful words that it can still transform our lives. At the same time, he was concretely conscious of all that was t o come in his crucifixion, resurrection, and ascension, and could act with authority at every point. To what did Jesus credit this ability to respond so freely to God? When the Jews asked, ``How knoweth this man letters, having never learned?" the Bible, in John's Gospel, tells us, ``Jesus answered them, and said, My doctrine is not mine, but his that sent me."
The spiritual fact of man's Godlikeness shines through to the degree that we allow ourselves to image forth what God causes us to be as His manifestation. Mary Baker Eddy, the Discoverer and Founder of Christian Science, speaks of this yielding to God in Science and Health with Key to the Scriptures. She writes: ``Mind is not necessarily dependent upon educational processes. It possesses of itself all beauty and poetry, and the power of expressing them. Spirit, God, is heard when the senses are silent. W e are all capable of more than we do. The influence or action of Soul confers a freedom, which explains the phenomena of improvisation and the fervor of untutored lips.
We must, however, learn to quiet the clamor of the physical senses in order to hear God. This is the key to recognizing that the ideas we need to express don't originate in us but emanate from God. While we may sometimes appear to succeed quite adequately on our own, at some point mortal capacity always runs out. When we end up in such a situation, where we know we are inadequate to do the job, we are in a position to discover the unbounded, timely, and harmonious manifestations of the divine Mind, God. Then we are finally willing to turn things over to God.
The deepest joy can accompany the most routine as well as the most unexpected situations when we are relying wholly on God, as the Master did. And we don't need to wait to be pressed into a desperate or difficult situation before we yield to God, but can actively seek to do it daily, moment by moment.
Mrs. Eddy points out in her Miscellaneous Writings: ``Who knows how the feeble lips are made eloquent, how hearts are inspired, how healing becomes spontaneous, and how the divine Mind is understood and demonstrated? He alone knows these wonders who is departing from the thraldom of the senses and accepting spiritual truth,--that which blesses its adoption by the refinement of joy and the dismissal of sorrow." This is a way of life that can increasingly become the pattern of our experience. We can depart
from the bondage of the mortal senses as we discover that we are God's unlimited, Soul-filled, spiritual man. What dominion, freedom, and spontaneity we'll see in our lives!