RECENTLY I began to be particularly aware of something about children. It's inherent in their nature. And it's indispensable. To borrow a term used by Mary Baker Eddy, it's their "joyful adoption of good."
Have you ever noticed how easily children accept something new? Generally children have the willingness to do what's good for themselves and others. It's a genuine desire to do and be good. This adoption of good is really within everyone, no matter how many times he or she has seen the sun rise and set. It's within everyone because it's inherent in each one of us as children of God.
One day when our young daughter was running out of the grocery store, she ran headfirst into a shopping cart. The force of the collision knocked her down. Though she was not seriously injured, she was obviously upset. I picked her up, wanting to get her home where she'd be more comfortable. I whispered in her ear some of the truths about God my husband and I had learned from studying Christian Science and had talked about with her frequently. I reminded her that God was everywhere. In her own sweet way she acknowledged what I had said, and began to settle down.
On the way home I turned my own thought to God. I prayed for our daughter's comfort. I prayed that she would feel God's presence, His love, and His care all around her. By the time we reached home she was calm and happy. But what was particularly meaningful to me was what happened a few hours later. She came into the room, lifted her hair to show me where she had hit her head, and said, "Owie all gone. God all around." There wasn't a mark on her head. Her "joyful adoption of good"-of the healing ideas she was learning-had helped in her healing. They had a practical meaning to her.
It may seem difficult for many of us to perceive good in our lives, in ourselves, and in others. But this doesn't have to be. Our own childlike recognition of God's power is truly natural to us. We all can adopt good as genuinely as little children. One way is by turning from thoughts and actions that are not like God in quality. This would include turning from depression, anger, or hate, for example. This turning is based on spiritual understanding, which is something substantial and powerful. The more we seek to understand God in His goodness and all-presence, the more readily our daily life conforms to this goodness. Really feeling that God is All, we must also recognize that His creation is also complete, just as good as God is.
To reiterate, we adopt good by praying-by turning thought away from the false to the true, from evil to good. This changes our experiences for the better. It renews and redeems our thoughts and actions. And because thought is always externalized, the renewal and redemption must be evident and meaningful to us. So, it's natural to reason that if our thoughts are based on God, our lives will be too.
An article by Mrs. Eddy, who founded the Church of Christ, Scientist, refers to this change as a birth that includes adopting good with joy: "The new birth is not the work of a moment. It begins with moments, and goes on with years; moments of surrender to God, of childlike trust and joyful adoption of good; moments of self-abnegation, self-consecration, heaven-born hope, and spiritual love." This is from her book, Miscellaneous Writings (p. 15).
In the Bible, the book of Romans promises: "Ye have received the Spirit of adoption, whereby we cry, Abba, Father. The Spirit itself beareth witness with our spirit, that we are the children of God" (8:15, 16). This is how God sees us-as His children. The more we understand spiritually that we can joyfully adopt good, the easier it is for us to prove this fact in our lives. This results in healing for ourselves and for other people.
Blessed be the God and Father
of our Lord Jesus Christ, who hath blessed us with all spiritual blessings in heavenly places in Christ.
Having predestinated us unto the adoption of children by Jesus Christ to himself, according to the good pleasure of his will.
Ephesians 1:3, 5