Spiritual poise ... even on the brink
First published as an editorial in the Christian Science Sentinel
In this busy, electronically complex - some say dangerous - world, humanity is always on the brink of something.
It may be something eminently desirable though frustratingly slow in coming - fresh adventures, physical or emotional healing, some long-awaited scientific breakthrough, a salary raise, lasting companionship. Even just the football season. Or Christmas.
But all too often these days, we're teetering on the edge of events that grip the soul in a vise - another terrorist attack, global warming, worsening drought, disease, political unrest, economic collapse. And it's the teetering that appears to do the most damage. Whether on the cusp of good or bad experiences, people become unsettled and easily overwhelmed by the decisions they are required to make as they proceed. They battle uncertainty, fear, even paralysis.
The Bible account of the decisions faced by the Israelites fleeing decades of slavery and the military might of the Egyptians provides a stabilizing approach to such predicaments. At one point they were on the brink of escape - their only obstacle, the intimidating waters of the Red Sea. Though humanity might not be facing a crisis of that magnitude, it's always reassuring to imagine a voice like that of Moses, the Israelite leader, calling, "Fear ye not, stand still, and see the salvation of the Lord, which he will shew to you to-day" (Ex. 14:13).
Moses neither hesitated nor doubted. And the Israelites' prayers were answered. The waters were parted long enough for them to pass through to safety on dry ground.
Sometimes it's our hesitancy in the face of unpredicted change in our lives that becomes a form of bondage. And this is not new. Over 100 years ago, the woman who discovered Christian Science, Mary Baker Eddy, prayed for solutions to similar challenges. She said: "Whatever enslaves man is opposed to the divine government. Truth makes man free." She also wrote that it is ignorance of divine power that is the "foundation of continued bondage and of human suffering." She argued that "no power can withstand divine Love" ("Science and Health with Key to the Scriptures," pages 224-225, 227).
In her commentary on the Israelites' extraordinary escape, Mrs. Eddy told how she related the Exodus from Egypt to her own concern that true freedom should be more widely experienced everywhere. And it wasn't just human taskmasters she had in mind. She explained how she prayed to save "the lame, the deaf, the dumb, the blind, the sick, the sensual, the sinner ... from the slavery of their own beliefs" and from surrender to the educational systems of their time.
She told further how she prayed for wisdom: "I pressed on through faith in God, trusting Truth, the strong deliverer, to guide me into the land of Christian Science, where fetters fall and the rights of man are fully known and acknowledged" (Science and Health, pages 226-227).
People of many faiths are discovering that when they move toward the brink of any experience, prayer can bring them to a point where, instead of dread, they actually look forward to seeing what form God's saving help will take, and how it is going to be revealed to them. Spiritual poise comes from knowing that God's salvation is already happening. "Now is the accepted time," said the Apostle Paul, "behold, now is the day of salvation" (II Cor. 6:2).
So if you are required to wait a while, this can be an invaluable opportunity to go deeper spiritually - a pause to reestablish your connection with God. This connection brings the assurance that divine provision, protection, healing, and regeneration are freely available, and enables you to move forward without fear.
Such an approach helps you to hear more clearly, see more vividly, and understand more fully, the nature of God's saving power. Anyone with faith in the Divine can stand firm and let this adaptable, totally expansive, and reliable power take over.
When you're confronted by any unfamiliar experience, spiritual poise will come from knowing that God is always in control. There is no brink. No chasm of despair. There is only certainty, under "the divine government."