"Every mortal at some period, here or hereafter, must grapple with and overcome the mortal belief in a power opposed to God." That statement was written by Mary Baker Eddy, the founder of this newspaper, in Science and Health with Key to the Scriptures (p. 569). The counterargument, however -- that there is a power besides God-comes in subtle thoughts that creep into the most unlikely places in our day-to-day living. These thoughts are dismissed as the understanding of God's power becomes foundational. And this helps in a myriad of human circumstances.
I learned I could relate these facts to a problem I was having. For many years I had gone to a yearly meeting 1,500 miles from home. And every year some aspect of the trip would not be right. Oh, this did not destroy totally my benefit from attending the meeting, but nevertheless it was troublesome. The problems ranged from being stranded in a strange city late one Saturday night to a late plane arrival that caused missed connections; from severe weather to illness at the motel the night before, which threatened my attendance at the gathering.
I wondered what was wrong. Maybe I had not prayed sufficiently, something I do as a Christian Scientist, as a follower of the teachings of Christ Jesus. Maybe I shouldn't have been going so far from home. On and on. At one point I even asked someone to pray for me during my trip.
Christian Science, the Comforter from God that Jesus promised the world, is the means by which I learn that God is all good, the only power. The Bible and Science and Health are two books that teach how God is maintaining us and how this truth helps us in every aspect of our lives. God is the controlling power of all that He creates, including you and me. Since He is good, we can reason that we are under His control always -- even when we encounter situations that seem to contradict these spiritual facts. In the Bible in the book of Matthew, Jesus is quoted as having said, "Are not two sparrows sold for a farthing? and one of them shall not fall on the ground without your Father. But the very hairs of your head are all numbered" (10:29, 30).
So, undaunted and even with good humor, I persisted in "grappling with" and "overcoming" my "mortal belief in a power opposed to God." Over the years it had seemed to me that there was very definitely a power apart from Him -- at least when I was traveling. Finally one year, when I was literally running from one end to the other of what must be the world's largest airport, praying that I would make a connection, I was stopped cold in my tracks. The thought that stopped me was that in reality God had always been in control; I could never have been outside of the control of the one all-loving God. There had never been another power interfering with God -- on this trip or any other. And there was no need to condemn myself for having believed otherwise.
I resumed the race to the next plane, but I was calmer and more resolved. I knew, with confidence, that I was with God. (The airplane was at the gate, waiting.)
Such small demonstrations of God's loving influence in our lives may seem insignificant, taken one by one. But these are the very bricks that go to building the wall of spiritual understanding, by which we can withstand the more earthshaking problems that sometimes confront us.
The point in learning of God's care for us is not really to have hassle-free trips, to find lost luggage, or to make good connections between flights. It is, rather, to know that God is reliable in every aspect of our lives, because He is the only power and presence, the only Being.
There have been little glitches in subsequent trips, which in the past might have brought me concern or diminished my enjoyment of the activity. But now, accompanying each of these yearly trips, there is an underlying confidence that God controls each detail of His creation.