A NEIGHBOR and I chatted briefly in the grocery store while our children played in the aisle. We had a lot on our minds. Instead of the usual grocery store banter, we talked about neighborhood tensions, school reopening, financial challenges, and the hurricane that was headed our way. The conversation was peppered with interruptions as the children went on ``missions'' to find things on our grocery lists.
Just as we were about to leave, my daughter asked, ``Is there anything else you need?'' Her sincerity was arresting. For a moment my friend just looked at her and then replied, ``Yes, but I don't think they have peace of mind on the store shelves.''
Wouldn't we be in the middle of a stampede if they did! Many people think they'll find peace of mind after something happens-- after police protection is stepped up in the neighborhood, after the house finally sells, after debts are cleared, after a loved one recovers from an illness, after they know that their job survives downsizing, after they get accepted into college, and so on. Sought on these terms, though, peace is not only delayed but elusive. As soon as one hurdle is crossed, mortal thought fixates on another. It's always afraid of something else that might be around the corner.
Peace of mind is attainable when it is sought on a spiritual basis, as Christ Jesus proved. In fact, the Bible shows us how to find it. For ex-ample, in the book of Job we read, ``Acquaint now thyself with him, and be at peace: thereby good shall come unto thee'' (22:21). ``Acquainting'' ourselves with God involves understanding His nature and learning what it means to our lives.
Science and Health with Key to the Scriptures by Mary Baker Eddy, the Discoverer and Founder of Christian Science, explains God as ``the great I am; the all-knowing, all-seeing, all-acting, all-wise, all-loving, and eternal; Principle; Mind; Soul; Spirit; Life; Truth; Love; all substance; intelligence'' (p. 587). The implications of this statement are vast, and it takes more than just reading the words to understand it. I'm finding that the more I recognize that these qualities are true about God, the more evidence I see of them in my life.
Understanding God includes learning about ourselves because man's true selfhood is the reflection of God's being. Created by God, we are anchored in His goodness and power. Nothing can cast us adrift. Even if it looks as though our lives are buffeted by hostile forces, we can maintain our peace by turning our thought always to God. Praying and exercising trust in Truth bring to light God's government and our security under His care.
My husband and I saw convincing proof of this when we were in college before we were married. He applied for financial aid and expected to receive the amount awarded in prior years. When he heard from the committee, however, the aid was in the hundreds rather than the thousands. In terms of costs at that time the shortfall seemed devastating.
After calling the aid office to verify that the amount was correct, he prayed diligently to understand that man could never lack God-given substance and opportunity. My own stomach was in knots, so I was amazed he could be so calm. It looked as though his life and our wedding plans had just been derailed. As the weeks went on, both of us prayed and grew in our certainty that God causes only good--in our lives and everywhere.
He decided to start the year even though he didn't have any idea where the funds to finish would come from.
Early in the term he learned from the financial aid office that there had been a mistake after all. It came to light in an interesting way. A new aid officer decided to familiarize herself with the system by tracing a student's progress through the application process. She picked him. In listening to the recording of the meeting at which his application had been discussed, she found that the amount requested had been approved, but that a digit had been dropped in recording the minutes. His financial aid was increased immediately, and he was able to finish the year as planned.
I'll never forget the gratitude and awe we felt. From a human perspective, the likelihood of finding the mistake was slim. But by actively trusting the control of the all-knowing Mind, we found peace and saw the evidence of God's care.
This pattern has been repeated over the past nineteen years together. There have been many other challenges--physical and mental--resolved entirely through prayer. Each time we have seen peace precede the healing, quelling anxiety and revealing God's love at the helm. Acquainting oneself with God answers the heart's deepest yearning for security.
which is the Holy Ghost,
whom the Father will send
in my name,
he shall teach you all things,
and bring all things
to your remembrance,
whatsoever I have said unto you.
Peace I leave with you,
my peace I give unto you:
not as the world giveth,
give I unto you.
Let not your heart be troubled,
neither let it be afraid.
John 14:26, 27