Check your assumptions

A Christian Science perspective on daily life

"Why is God doing this to me?" "What am I doing wrong?"

Those questions can pop up whenever life throws us a curve ball. I've spent many a miserable hour trying to figure out if I was the one who messed up, or if it was God. Lately, though, I've come to realize that it's not that the answers are eluding me, it's the questions themselves that needs examining.

The questions we ask reveal a lot about our assumptions. For example, the first question assumes that whatever the problem is, God is the cause. It assumes God wants to inflict evil on us, and that there's no way to avoid it. But we want to believe that God wishes only good for us, and that He has the power to provide it. With these conflicting assumptions, the question becomes unanswerable.

I'm not the only one who asks unanswerable questions. Remember the story in the Bible about Jesus stilling the storm? (See Mark 4:37-41.) Jesus and his disciples are on a boat in the middle of a stormy sea. The disciples are scared to death that they'll be overwhelmed by the waves; Jesus, however, is taking a nap. His disciples wake him with one of those unanswerable questions:

"Master, carest thou not that we perish?"

The question packs a load of assumptions:

1. That the storm is about to kill them.

2. That it's possible for Jesus not to care.

3. That Jesus could do something about it but is choosing not to.

4. That it's all Jesus' (and by extension, God's) fault.

I love Jesus' response. You or I might have said, "Of course I care! Do you think I want you to die in this storm?"

But that's not what Jesus does. As a first response, he does the most practical thing possible: He stops the storm with the words, "Peace, be still."

Once the storm is taken care of, does Jesus then tell them that of course he cares? Not really. Instead, he questions their assumptions. He shoots right back at them, "Why are ye so fearful? How is it that ye have no faith?" It's as though he's saying, Look, you know that God is good and all powerful. Why the leap to "we're all gonna die"?

To me, questions like, "Why is God doing this to me?" or "What am I doing wrong?" carry the same kind of faulty assumptions. Asking them assumes God is doing this to you or that you are doing something wrong. And those are the very misapprehensions that need to be exchanged for truth.

And what is the truth? God is wholly good, all-powerful, and all-loving. This perfect God is the only cause, and there is no other cause. Christianity, when approached scientifically, includes the concept of reasoning from cause to effect, rather than the other way around.

Mary Baker Eddy, who discovered the Science of Christ, wrote: "There is but one primal cause. Therefore there can be no effect from any other cause, and there can be no reality in aught which does not proceed from this great and only cause" ("Science and Health with Key to the Scriptures," p. 207).

By starting with God, perfect cause, we can draw correct conclusions about perfect effect - man, us. To start with mortality and attempt to reason upward - the "why me?" syndrome - is a dead end.

Start with God, and you'll find that God is sending only good to you always. In fact, as His image and likeness, you embody His perfection. Any appearance that contradicts these spiritual facts is attributable to the storm of mortality, and does not need to have the final word. You can still that storm with the same Christ presence that was so effective all those centuries ago.

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