Where's the Promised Land?
Bringing a spiritual perspective to daily life
The Bible is filled with promises. The "pure in heart" are promised they will "see God." The "meek" that they will "inherit the earth" (Matt. 5:8, 5). Revelation promises "a new heaven and a new earth," and a "holy city" illuminated entirely by the light of God (21:1, 2, 23). This light is something we can all see. How do we find it?
A promise the Hebrew leader Moses heard shows that listening is important. He received a message from God (or "I AM," as the Bible puts it), assuring freedom for his people from slavery in Egypt. Moreover, God said He would lead them to a Promised Land that would be theirs forever. Moses understood this to be the land of Canaan, a fertile, productive land.
Throughout recorded history there has been conflict over this land, as different nations claim that God has bequeathed it exclusively to them. But the power of compassion and understanding, brought to light in individual prayer, reveals a promised land of true security and peace that God has given to all, leaving no one out.
Christ Jesus said, "The kingdom of God cometh not with observation: neither shall they say, Lo here! or, lo there! for, behold, the kingdom of God is within you" (Luke 17:20, 21). This kingdom is within Jew and Arab, Serb and Croat, Irish and British. The message from God to Moses, and to us all, is that the promised land is not real estate but divine consciousness. This message is the true perception of our home as being in God, eternal and harmonious. Our real home, then, is certainly as attainable right where we are now as it is in North Korea, Serbia, Angola, Cuba, Iran, and in the land of Canaan.
As one humbly and meekly opens his or her thought to God, listens for His messages and accepts them, they bring enlightenment, comfort, healing. They lead to that "new heaven and new earth," the consciousness of good. We are God's perfect sons and daughters, and He dearly loves us.
The divine consciousness is God's consciousness. Through the prayer that turns to God, that puts absolute trust in Him, we open our thought to receive God's messages. They are always good. It's as we accept these messages and live with them that our lives take on more peace, truth, love, joy, wholeness, longevity - more of the good that God knows about us.
When God's messages direct us, we cannot be distracted by anything unlike God - anything discordant. When we know what's spiritually true about ourselves and about our relationships, income, employment, and so forth, we live in greater harmony. Our environment is more beautiful. We experience the truth that we can neither be out of work, underworked, nor overworked, neither fearful nor angry. As God's reflection, we have all the good God has.
I have a sense of joy, an inner peace, a feeling of completeness, that I carry everywhere I go. It has come from living with ideas like the ones discussed here, learned in my study of Christian Science (which was discovered in 1866 by Mary Baker Eddy). I discern, in some measure, this promised land, and it grows clearer to me each day.
At one time, aspiring to my present understanding of God as Truth and Love would have seemed to me almost like trying to learn to fly like a bird. I had been very nervous, unsuccessful, unhappy, extremely shy - and selfish. But as I learned to listen to God and follow His guidance and counsel, I found I expressed more genuine meekness, grace, intelligence, unselfishness, happiness. I was growing spiritually. The negative character traits began to fade away. To the divine consciousness they were never really there.
I now can say I'm able to hear the "still small voice" of Truth (see I Kings 19:12). I rejoice in running life's race. In proving that life is full of promise. Now my greatest joy is in understanding and demonstrating who I am as a child of God, and in helping others. I see that the same Spirit that guided Moses and Christ Jesus guides us, too. Regardless of our personal history, how bad our problems seem, how far away heaven looks, or how close danger appears, as we open our thought to God's messages and live them, the problems are solved and healing comes. Also, we concurrently find the kingdom of heaven, the promised land. We find we've always lived there.