Here in the northern hemisphere, the days are growing shorter and the winds are blowing colder. Sometimes the approaching winter holds threats of discomfort, shortages of food and fuel, and hardship. Weather and seasons may have nothing to do with the isolation and bleakness some people feel, or with the fear for the future that haunts others.
In any case, it is possible to face bleak months, or bleak prospects, with more confidence when we understand that God has already put something wonderful in our hearts: the truth that He sustains all creation. Coming to know this is like coming out of a storm into a warm home.
For centuries people sought to bolster themselves against the harshness of the winter by laying up a harvest. One traditional hymn of thanksgiving presents a comforting image when it says: "All is safely gathered in, / Ere the winter storms begin." Almost everyone would like to see the kind of security implied here, expressed in one form or another: no hunger, a marriage, a diploma, physical health.
What if some people feel they simply don't have any harvest to gather? A vital fact is that no man or woman is outside the warmth and abundance that come from the Lord alone. That hymn goes on to assure: "God, our Maker, doth provide / For our wants to be supplied."
According to Christian Science, the Science of the teachings of Jesus Christ, it is true that God does provide for our wants, or more accurately our honest needs. Because this Science is practical, it doesn't just say that God has provided a harvest of good; it explains how.
Mary Baker Eddy, who discovered Christian Science, wrote: "Jesus required neither cycles of time nor thought in order to mature fitness for perfection and its possibilities. He said that the kingdom of heaven is here, and is included in Mind; that while ye say, There are yet four months, and then cometh the harvest, I say, Look up, not down, for your fields are already white for the harvest; and gather the harvest by mental, not material processes" (Unity of Good, pp. 11-12). It did not take time for Jesus to help the people he saved and healed, including a huge gathering for whom he produced abundant food in the face of utter scarcity (see Matthew 14:15-21). He healed countless people of disease, instantly.
How can we do as Jesus did (he said we can and should)? There's an important idea in that quotation: "and gather the harvest by mental, not material processes." Jesus didn't fix up people's troubles with money, building supplies, counseling sessions, or bags of groceries. He brought healing through understanding that God, the one infinite Mind, sustains us intelligently.
The Science of Christ shows that understanding God brings divine power to troubled lives. A consciousness unaware of God is like a barren field. Fear is like a destructive wind. On the contrary, facts of God that we know and accept are like warm sun and fields of ripe grain. They are substantial and trustworthy. They bring assurance that whatever is good and needed is part of our inheritance from God.
How and what can you gather from such a mental process? Everyone is free to gather what God gives directly and limitlessly-ideas that represent Him, ideas that are good, like Him. Mrs. Eddy wrote, "God gives you His spiritual ideas, and in turn, they give you daily supplies" (Miscellaneous Writings, p. 307). As God's very expression, we possess thoughts of Him in abundance. When we perceive this abundance and realize that it is present now, it comes to fruition in our lives in the particular form necessary. We can harvest it.
You and I can know God right now as Life, Truth, and Love itself. The ultimate effect of this is not theoretical but practical. People have had healings from gathering in the knowledge of who God is and who we are as a result. These have been healings of illness, and also ones in which poverty and despair were replaced with lives of abundance and hope. I have found healing as I have come to know God more clearly. The Christian Science magazines publish testimonies of such healing in each issue.
No one has to wait to gather the harvest God sows