No impasse in God's presence
Originally printed as an editorial in The Christian Science Journal
The traffic was heavy on the one-way street in Granada, Spain, as we were driving to a historic district on the other side of town. Suddenly the street ended, giving us no option but to turn right. After that, there were no exits on either side. When we approached the medieval area, all the traffic moved into a single lane, which began to narrow. Everybody had to slow down. The road narrowed even more. Our brand-new car, generously loaned to us by a friend, was much bigger than the ordinary European automobiles. Suddenly, we could go no farther. Looking out the windows, we saw that the car doors on both sides were lightly touching the stone walls of the ancient houses.
We couldn't get out or move forward. No way to back up, either, as the row of cars behind us quickly grew, and the drivers began to blow their horns and yell.
Where were we? The thought came, "In the presence of God." Where had we been a few minutes earlier? In the presence of God, as well. And the day before, the year before, at any time? We had never been outside of God's presence, I was sure. Then we were not, and never had been, in a predicament. Knowing that there was no precedent for a predicament was the solution. There is always a solution.
Several minutes went by. The line of honking cars behind us looked six hundred feet long. Then a young man took his shoes off, climbed over our car from the rear, came up in front of us, and offered to help. Signaling very precise directions to our driver, he guided us through the narrow space. The car passed through without a scratch, as if the walls had receded.
While all this was happening, I became aware of something else, something powerful. It was the reality of God, which provided a calm, full confidence in His unfailing protection. God always knows where we are. The true history of each one of us is not the narrative of human episodes. It is a spiritual reality that God knows, because He is the Principle of every spiritual fact - in other words, of everything that really takes place. There is always a way out of difficulties, and we see the way when we are aware that God knows each one of His children. What He knows is true and good. Whatever is not good, God does not know and does not authorize. The Apostle Paul said in the Bible, "Known unto God are all his works from the beginning of the world" (Acts 15:18). And He knows everything, because He is omniscient.
This kind of reasoning, which gives us stillness, is an important aspect of prayer, and it pulled us out of that impasse. We can pray, or reason, like that in other situations also. This prayer helps us see that whatever God doesn't recognize is not really going on. Anything contrary to God's nature isn't valid. What is true and real, God has always known, from the beginning, from all eternity, where every one of His children truly is and always has been.
Jesus was aware of this eternal existence and showed humanity that it is the only real existence - spiritual, permanent. He said, "I and my Father are one" (John 10:30). He taught that God is the Father of every one of us. There is no separation, no space between God and His children, between God and each one of us. This spiritualized view reveals that we are neither coming to nor going from God's presence, but are constantly embraced by it.
Mary Baker Eddy, the founder of this newspaper, explained, "Christ is the true idea voicing good, the divine message from God to men speaking to the human consciousness" ("Science and Health with Key to the Scriptures," pg. 332). Heeding this voice saves us, and shows the way out of any predicament.
Prayer enables each one of us to take refuge in that quiet place where the Christ speaks and stills the uncertainties and threats of human circumstances. No matter what the predicament may be, the Christ can reveal the reality of true being, causing all anguish, disease, hate, and every form of hunger or human need to recede. There is never a place where the omnipresence of God does not prevail. It forever shelters us all, even as it did on that narrow medieval street in Granada. In God's inevitable omnipresence, there is no impasse.
(c) Copyright 2001. The Christian Science Publishing Society