Panic at the podium, then trust
A Christian Science perspective.
One morning I was standing on a platform in front of several hundred people. It was a business meeting, and I was providing some facts, figures, dates, and information. My presentation was two pages long. When I finished reading the first page and brought the second page forward, it was blank. The second half of my report was not there.
At moments like that, can we trust God? Can we be sure of His love and care for us? Will He come through for us when we need His help?
Faith in God is a basic element of Christianity, along with the simple promise of God’s love for each of us.
Over centuries of painting, artists have struggled to represent man reaching out to God and His present and powerful response. Some might say the outstretched hands on the ceiling of the Sistine Chapel are the most notable portrayal of this reaching and touching. To me this portrayal of God, symbolized in this brilliant work by Michelangelo as a loving Father figure in the sky, with fingertip stretched to the hand of the reaching one, depicts the first line of the Lord’s Prayer, “Our Father which art in heaven” (Matt. 6:9).
Mary Baker Eddy, the founder of the Monitor, gave a spiritual interpretation of that opening line. She wrote, “Our Father-Mother God, all-harmonious” (“Science and Health with Key to the Scriptures,” p. 16). I love that this line also includes God’s mothering qualities and a sense of the ever-present harmony that God’s presence reveals.
We feel those qualities in the moments when we need God and we feel His-Her touch and loving care. From these moments we learn to trust this Father-Mother God, day by day. It’s the times when we let go and say, “I can’t do this. Take it, God – it’s Yours.” And God does. And with this trust in God comes the inevitable answer to whatever problem or question we’re facing.
That very “take it” line came to me that morning on the podium. When I first realized the second page of my report was missing, I began to panic. Then I thought how unnecessary it was that I should disturb this important meeting by making embarrassed explanations or by confused searching for the right information. My next thought was the simple prayer of reaching out to God: “Take it – it’s Yours.” And God did. Even though I’d made no attempt to memorize the information, I communicated accurately and articulately the details of my report, apparently without anyone realizing that I was “reading” from a blank sheet of paper.
As I left the platform, I marveled at the ready response to my cry for help. In that moment I felt the inspiration expressed in another art form, the poetic psalms of the Bible, particularly, “Righteousness and peace have kissed each other” (85:10). Each time we experience even a touch of God’s guiding and helping us, we are individually proving that heaven and earth are one.