Current news stories strongly imply that progress in solving the problems in Iraq and in other countries hinges on changes in the administration there or in the United States, Japan, or Australia. Partisan views may mislead us into thinking that a certain person or condition is holding back progress. But simply changing personnel, even national leaders, doesn't necessarily bring solutions to particular problems.
In dealing with problems in my own life, I've found prayer to be a much more inspired approach. Prayer lifts our thoughts to Spirit, which has no material element, limitations, or agendas. It's free of hatred, anger, jealousy, and divisiveness. When we see ourselves as the ideas of Spirit, its offspring, we gain a totally new perspective.
One thing that perspective brings to light is that even though each of us has different gifts and different ways of expressing them, we are all under God's government. A passage in the Bible makes this clear: "Now there are diversities of gifts, but the same Spirit. And there are differences of administrations, but the same Lord. And there are diversities of operations, but it is the same God which worketh all in all" (I Cor. 12:4-6).
The key is, of course, to recognize this and to live in harmony with God's plan. That isn't always easy, but sometimes yielding our own strong views to God's direction brings unexpected results. I found that out when I was serving in a volunteer position. I thought the person who'd held the position before me had done everything wrong. But those verses from the Bible enabled me to see that there could be "diversities of operations," because the same God was expressed in each person. In fact, as I gave up my view that my predecessor was wrong, I chose to adopt her method instead of using my own. I had opened up to two, not one, possible solutions.
This doesn't mean that we need to surrender our viewpoint in every disagreement or give up our insights. What it means to me is that there are many approaches to accomplishing the same goal. And since God is ever present, a helpful solution can be found now.
As we turn to Spirit – instead of fixating on the material issues, the human players, and so on – our thought becomes freer. We're less likely to feel that things have to work out a certain way, and that opens up the possibility for a new or an old inspired idea to develop. We learn that we don't need to wait for good.
Sometimes strong partisan feelings distract us from prayer for elected officials or attempts to solve problems at work or in similar venues. Again the Bible offers inspiration: "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).
We can tell when the solution is from God because it gives us peace; it includes gentleness and purity. It has a rightness that we can feel in our hearts. And with it comes the intelligence to actually put it into practice. Mary Baker Eddy, the founder of this newspaper, wrote succinctly, "God is not separate from the wisdom He bestows" ("Science and Health with Key to the Scriptures," p. 6). It's also true that the wisdom He bestows does not include conflicting directions.
That's why lifting our thoughts higher, turning to the one God, is essential.
Realizing that it is the same Lord governing both within our national boundaries and across the international scene where differences of administration can change suddenly helps preserve the continuity of right activity.
We don't need to wait to see God's government at work in our lives. Divine law is ever in operation, and we can affirm that everyone is open to its guidance and is willing to obey. As we turn to God in prayer, strong human opinions are vanquished, and we experience His government, individually and collectively, here and now.