"O how love I thy law," the Psalmist sang when thinking of being governed by one infinite, altogether good God (Ps. 119:97). But when considering some of the laws that govern our land today, we may sing a different tune.
Most democracies have various branches of government that provide checks and balances on one another. Today in the United States one hears frequently that one branch is not doing its job - that the judiciary is making laws instead of interpreting them according to the Constitution, that Congress is too partisan to pass good legislation, and that the executive branch is overreaching.
In my own life, I have found differences of opinion, even of modus operandi, helpful if they are subservient to God's law. When my husband and I had a small business, there came a time to make a decision between two different procedures. We held opposite views. Since we were used to praying over all kinds of issues, we went to different rooms to pray over this decision. When I came out of my room, I heard myself saying, "You are absolutely right. We should do it that way."
In such situations I have always prayed, "Not my will (nor anyone else's personal will) but Thine be done." God's will truly is what needs to be done, because any activity flowing from a recognition of one universal God has a universal blessing. And prayer that subdues our own desires, instead of begging for their fulfillment, allows us to give up personal opinions, if that is necessary, or strengthens us with the right way to carry our plans forward.
Mary Baker Eddy, who founded this newspaper in part to help people reason intelligently about current issues, wrote a short article instructing church members to pray specifically for each of the three branches of the United States government: "Pray that the divine presence may still guide and bless our chief magistrate, those associated with his executive trust, and our national judiciary; give to our congress wisdom, and uphold our nation with the right arm of His righteousness" ("Christian Science versus Pantheism," page 14).
Mrs. Eddy had great faith in her own prayers and in those of others. She prayed many times a day and was sure that her prayers were answered "from above," and she encouraged others to seek and act upon God's direction.
This biblical description of wisdom is enlightening: "The wisdom that is from above is first pure, then peaceable, gentle, and easy to be entreated, full of mercy and good fruits, without partiality, and without hypocrisy" (James 3:17).
Getting past partiality sometimes can seem impossible. I usually find my thinking on political issues beginning with a partisan reaction. Then opening my thought and my heart to nonpartisan thinking, I often see wisdom where I hadn't seen it before.
When I was quite young, my father taught me to take the other side in a disagreement and reason as intelligently as I could from that standpoint. This has proved to be extremely helpful. It enables me to detect flaws in false conclusions and distortions of facts and figures to support a particular viewpoint, my own or another's.
We, as individual supporters of righteous government, don't necessarily have to work out an answer for each issue. but we need to seek God's righteous government in every aspect of our lives. A citizenry that seeks wisdom is an immeasurably valuable support to those elected to run the country.
The fact that there are three governmental branches, as well as millions of voters, need not confuse issues. Rather, these various avenues for receiving divine direction ensure that all interests are taken into account. And our earthly government more nearly reflects the divine, where there is no partiality or hypocrisy, and the peace of the wisdom that is from above prevails.
The Lord giveth wisdom:
out of his mouth cometh knowledge and understanding.