ON our kitchen bookshelf is a copy of a popular cookbook. Some ingredients listed in its recipes are not considered crucial and are designated ''optional.'' Having options gives us freedom in making choices about many things-purchasing cars and appliances, for example-and in the type of lifestyle we select. But there are times when options aren't or shouldn't be available. Can you imagine driving a car that had brakes as an option? Chaos would certainly result from having cars on the road that couldn't obey stop signs!
God is unfaltering in His love and care for man, whom He created in His own image and likeness. This love and care isn't something we can choose to have or not have. The Father of us all doesn't offer an option as to whether He provides for His creation. God wouldn't be God without the absolute guidance and control He exercises over His creation. Neither does man have the option not to be God's cherished child. The reflection, or image, must always show forth the original. We are actually that image. Because God is Spirit, then man, His image, is spiritual. Man must remain as perfect as God.
This fact may seem unbelievable to those new to exploring the laws of God, but it can be proved. While pruning a bush I inadvertently severed the corner of one of my thumbs, as well. The restoration of my thumb to complete normalcy of function and form was evidence to me of God's sustaining and maintaining of man. During the few days it took for the healing to occur, I prayed to understand man's entire perfection as the image of Spirit, God. This verse from Ecclesiastes was so helpful in reminding myself of my unchanging spiritual completeness: ''I know that, whatsoever God doeth, it shall be for ever: nothing can be put to it, nor any thing taken from it: and God doeth it, that men should fear before him'' (3:14).
Discomfort and malformation are contrary to God's creation and therefore without cause or entity. Recognizing this fact, I was able to play the piano for our Sunday School just a few days after the incident. Healing was not optional, but certain!
The concept of man as material, mortal, subject to change or random ills and accidents is constantly before our eyes. If this false depicting of man is accepted as our own individual status, just existing can seem to be a gamble every day. But we do have a choice of which view of man we accept-the real, spiritual, God-created man or the unreal, material, ever-fluctuating instability of mortal man. Science and Health with Key to the Scriptures by the Discoverer and Founder of Christian Science, Mary Baker Eddy, asks, ''Which ought to be substance to us,-the erring, changing, and dying, the mutable and mortal, or the unerring, immutable, and immortal?'' (pp. 278-279) As our understanding of what God is-all Life, Truth, Love, Mind-grows, it becomes more and more natural to turn from erroneous depictions of humankind and to discover the perfect universe of God, peopled with His blessed spiritual children.
Exercising various options in shopping is our right and privilege. But in keeping a close watch on our thinking, we'll find our only option is to identify ourselves and all mankind as spiritual ideas, and to see the nothingness of matter. There's really no other choice. Praying this way brings healing.
The Lord hath appeared
of old unto me, saying,
Yea, I have loved thee
with an everlasting love:
therefore with lovingkindness
have I drawn thee.