Overwhelmed. That's the way I was feeling. Overwhelmed by discouragement. It wasn't any big thing, really - just wondering and worrying about the future and what it might hold for me.
Have you been there? Most people have. They see too many things to do in not enough time; feel uncertainty as to how - or whether - they can do them; brood over financial worries, an illness, or emotional trauma. It sure seems that we can be undone by feelings of insufficiency and fear in all kinds of forms, mild or intense.
Well, I turned to God. And God, the divine Spirit, said to open the Bible. (That is, God's "voice" came to me as an inner prompting, an intuition of good.) I opened at random to this passage in the book of Isaiah: "When thou passest through the waters, I will be with thee; and through the rivers, they shall not overflow thee: when thou walkest through the fire, thou shalt not be burned; neither shall the flame kindle upon thee" (43:2).
Wow! I forgot about myself, and my heart went out to people in distress all around the globe. To people in Chechnya. To those affected by a recent airplane crash. And, in my local community, to family and friends of a young student at Columbia University who had been murdered a few days before, and to the family of the young man who had committed the murder before taking his own life.
Isaiah was reassuring me that even in their perhaps incalculable grief, God, divine Love, was right there with my brothers and sisters in need, comforting them, upholding them. That God was stronger than harm, terror, and grief. That She/He needed only to be acknowledged.
I realized that this Bible message that God is present and all-powerful, at all times and under all circumstances, was the answer to all the overwhelming circumstances that human beings face, both the small and large ones. I realized that the more we each affirm this fact, the more it becomes visible in our lives. We can know now that we dwell in God-given, inviolable safety and are free from every form of terror and adversity. God is with us.
As I read and prayed for an hour more, I made this list of seven more promises in the 42nd and 43rd chapters of Isaiah. And they aren't the only promises in these two chapters. In fact, reading these few brief pages in a Bible thousands of pages long, you'll be struck by how inexhaustible the scriptural message of good is - how deep and endless are its inspiration and healing impact.
Here are the seven ones I was impelled to select, paraphrase, and write down. Seven promises of God speaking to you and me today, as surely as they spoke to the original hearers. They comforted me instantly, gave me courage, filled me with the assurance of God's love, protection, and plan for us all. See if they don't do the same for you. (Try adding "so don't worry!" at the end of each one.) God says:
1. "I've chosen you to serve me. I'm holding you up. I just delight in you. I've put my spirit on you" (42:1).
2. "You're not going to fail or be discouraged" (42:4).
3. "I'll keep your thought right, hold your hand and keep - protect, preserve, maintain - you" (42:6).
4. "I'll bring good into your life in ways you can't yet see. I'll lead you to do things that you have never even thought of. I'll make your darkness light" (42:16).
5. "I created you. Don't be afraid. I see your true nature - you're like me, Godlike. You belong to me" (43:1).
6. "You are precious, and I love you" (43:4).
7. "Don't be afraid. I'm right here with you" (43:5).
The founder of this newspaper, Mary Baker Eddy, called the Bible "her sole teacher" and "the chart of life" ("Science and Health with Key to the Scriptures," pgs. viii and 24).
You can read other articles like this one in a weekly magazine called the Christian Science Sentinel.
(c) Copyright 2000. The Christian Science Publishing Society