Do you ever feel frustrated because you can't see how to follow through all the way to finish something that seems such a right thing to do?
I used to feel like that pretty often – until the morning I learned a valuable lesson from fog. You don't have to see all the way, I discovered. You just have to start.
I was living on the East Coast of the United States at the time, on the harbor front of a small town. My boat partner and I had planned to take our 16-foot power boat on a picnic cruise to our favorite off-shore island. It was an easy five-mile trip, and on a clear day you could see all the way there. The trouble was, this wasn't a clear day. The harbor was fogged in solid. We could barely see the headland that defined the entrance. We thought perhaps we shouldn't go.
But then, almost in unison, we said "Wait a minute! We can see the headland. Why not go that far, and then see what we can see!" So that's what we did.
After we made it the 30 yards or so to the harbor entrance, sure enough, from there we could see another 30 yards to something else we recognized. And then another 30 yards to something else. And then another something else. Finally, we reached the island, where we climbed to the highest point – and suddenly we were above the fog.
There ahead of us stretched a glorious view, all the way home!
This little adventure has served as a useful metaphor ever since. As long as our purpose and motives are right, we don't need to be afraid to start on any good endeavor.
Mary Baker Eddy, who discovered Christian Science, provided this powerful assurance in her textbook, "Science and Health, with Key to the Scriptures": "The purpose and motive to live aright can be gained now. This point won, you have started as you should.... and nothing but wrong intention can hinder your advancement. Working and praying with true motives, your Father will open the way" (p. 326).
And how wonderful it is to know that not only does our Father open the way; He also does the work. As it says in the Bible, "He which hath begun a good work in you will perform it..." (Phil. 1:6).
I love the concept that when an idea presents itself to me, it's not me personally who is conceiving it; it's God beginning a good work within me.
The clearest example of this in my life happened about 13 years ago when my husband passed on. I needed a new direction, and as I prayed to see what it was, the idea of a joint venture with one of my sons began to unfold.
We would find a rural property in California, where he was living at the time. I would put up the money, he the muscle. It would need to provide each of us a suitable place to live, and him room to develop his business. We agreed on the general area, and I set him the task of finding the property. He started to look and I to pray.
Two weeks later, he called me. "I've found it, Mom! It's wonderful! It has everything we need!"
"OK, let's go for it." I didn't have to see it. I simply bought it, trusting not only my son's definition of "wonderful," but also that this was the natural "performing" of the "good work" God had begun.
As it turned out, buying this property was indeed a good work, in fact a magnificent work, which resulted in great blessings, not only to us but to everybody whose lives it touched.
Each of us is entitled to great blessings in our lives. Listen for God's direction, and then even if you can see only a little way ahead, don't be afraid to start.
Lead, kindly Light, amid the encircling gloom,
Lead, Thou me on....
Keep Thou my feet; I do not ask to see
The distant scene; one step enough for me.
John Henry Newman, "Christian Science Hymnal," No. 169