THERE'S a statement attributed to Galileo that always gives me hope when things are looking black. After he was forced to recant his theory that the earth moves around the sun, he is supposed to have murmured, ''But it does move!''
The statement reminds me that the way things look materially is not always the way they actually are. Things might look hopeless, but that does not mean they are beyond God's power. Certainly the ministry of Christ Jesus proved this. He even raised people from death--and usually death is thought to be the ultimate in hopelessness!
Jesus' life illustrated Christ, or God's saving power. Mary Baker Eddy, the Discoverer and Founder of Christian Science, explains in her book Science and Health with Key to the Scriptures, ''Christ is the true idea voicing good, the divine message from God to men speaking to the human consciousness'' (p. 332). When we are actively listening to God's message of love for man, circumstances change. Here is an example from Luke's Gospel.
One day Jesus used the fishing boat that belonged to Peter as a pulpit so he could preach to the people on the shore. At this time, Peter was not a disciple. After preaching, Jesus told Peter to launch his ship into the deep water and let down his nets. Peter, an experienced fisherman, said, ''Master, we have toiled all the night, and have taken nothing.'' If, at that moment Peter had told Jesus to forget this idea, Peter's whole life would have been different. What came next was crucial. Peter continued, ''Nevertheless at thy word I will let down the net'' (Luke 5:5). Clearly, something about Jesus' teachings must have touched Peter's thoughts.
When the fishermen lowered the net, they caught so many fish that it began to break. They called to their partners and filled both ships so full that they began to sink. From that moment on, Peter and his partners followed Jesus. They had seen that a spiritual approach to life could change empty nets into full ones. They later saw in Jesus' ministry and their own lives that an understanding of God, divine Love, could fill hearts, restore minds, bodies, lives. That crucial word nevertheless opened the way for unlimited good.
When things look bleak for us, each of us can turn away from hopeless- ness and despair, murmuring, ''Nevertheless . . .'' and following Christly inspiration for the next step. The basis for this turning away from the bleakness of materiality is the fact that man is spiritual and beloved of God. Despite appearances to the contrary, man is not a hopeless mortal struggling against the odds with only a distant God for his help. The message of Christ tells us of ever-present, divine Love and of ourselves as His creation, fully endowed with intelligence, strength, and purpose. Christ gives us the true idea of who we are instead of the hopeless image we sometimes think is real.
No matter where we are in life, God, Love, is always with us. We can turn to Him with an open heart, seeking His guidance and His abundance. Each of us has a specific relationship with God as His spiritual idea, and nothing can ever take this unique identity away from us.
We understand this fact more readily as we put spiritual truth into practice. This involves responding with love instead of anger, seeking healing in times of dissension. Instead of accepting hopelessness, we can pray for an inspired idea of how to go forward. Sometimes it is a step-by-step process, but if we are willing to trust God, we will find our way.
Once, for example, the negatives for some aerial photographs I had taken were severely damaged. Since retaking these pictures would not only have been extremely expensive but would also have involved great complexity, I must admit that I sat down and cried. But then I prayed, and as I prayed, I began to see a way that the pictures could be restored. As I followed each individual step, the work was accomplished within a very short time.
Each of us may face times when even saying ''nevertheless'' isn't easy. But let's do it! As we challenge a bleak outlook and empty nets, we will find God's love meeting our needs abundantly.