If We Only Knew . . .
Bringing a spiritual perspective to daily life
Not many of us would turn our back on a rich inheritance. Not, that is, if we knew we had it. Yet, people often bustle through their days not knowing of their spiritual inheritance. And each one has it.
St. Paul, in quoting the prophet Isaiah, reminded the early Christians that "eye hath not seen, nor ear heard, neither have entered into the heart of man, the things which God hath prepared for them that love him" (I Corinthians 2:9; see Isaiah 64:4). The Psalmist sang, "Blessed be the Lord, who daily loadeth us with benefits" (Psalms 68:19).
Sometimes we feel what we're being loaded with daily is burdens. Someone told me how a friend of his had unloaded his burdens on him one day. My friend listened for a long time, but all the while he was praying silently to know how to answer. When all had been told, my friend quietly asked, "Well, have you seen good here?"
There was a startled moment. Then the friend answered, "What! How can I call my problems good?" To this the patient listener replied, "Do you believe that God is good?"
"Yes," came the answer.
"And do you believe that God is everywhere, knows everything there is to know, and is all-powerful?" Again the friend said, "Yes."
"Then, right where all these problems you've told me about appear to be, good must be going on. If you want to solve your problems, you have to start with the right premise in order to come up with the right conclusion."
Everything wasn't solved that day, but my friend's friend was inspired to pray about those problems. Hearing of this has helped me to remember to put God first in every instance where burdens are weighing me down. It has reminded me to look for proof that God is "loading" me with benefits, not burdens.
Consider how Christ Jesus was pressed upon by multitudes of troubled people, all wanting to be relieved of some burden or distress. It was Jesus' understanding of God's goodness and power that sustained him and enabled him to heal with unparalleled success. Some people ask how they themselves can heal through God's power. "Only Jesus could do that," they might say. But the Bible makes it obvious that Jesus expected all who would follow him to be Christian healers. He taught and proved that all power is of God, not person (see John 14:10). Once, when his disciples failed to heal a child of epilepsy and asked him why, he told them: "Because of your unbelief: for verily I say unto you, If ye have faith as a grain of mustard seed, ye shall say unto this mountain, Remove hence to yonder place; and it shall remove; and nothing shall be impossible unto you. Howbeit this kind goeth not out but by prayer and fasting" (Matthew 17:20, 21).
"Prayer and fasting," as considered in the light of Christian healing, might be called "affirmation and denial." The prayer affirms the ever-presence of God, the ever-presence of good. The fasting is a denial of what is not like God-a denial of evil, or error. The mental action of affirming God's goodness and denying that there is any other power removes "mountains" of burden. We can "fast" from the ugly evidence of sin, disease, and death because these all deny God as being all-powerful. They certainly are not of His making. Prayer and fasting require more than merely looking away from evil and pretending not to see it; they involve facing up to trouble in the growing knowledge that it is erroneous, ungodly.
God is the source of all good. Good, then, in all its promising and practical forms, is as present and available to you as it was to Jesus. Satisfying work, happy companionship, health, and peace-all these are meant to be ours. But we don't find them if we don't know how or where to look.
Christian Science is a clear explanation of how and where to look. Its textbook, Science and Health with Key to the Scriptures by Mary Baker Eddy, says: "Christians rejoice in secret beauty and bounty, hidden from the world, but known to God. Self-forgetfulness, purity, and affection are constant prayers. Practice not profession, understanding not belief, gain the ear and right hand of omnipotence and they assuredly call down infinite blessings" (p. 15). This describes the inheritance that is ours to find and claim.