'What's next?' or What's now?

A Christian Science perspective.

Listening to local, national, and international news can often be disheartening. Incidents of political and civil injustices, social unrest, and violent uprisings may tempt us to throw up our hands in despair. “What’s next?” we may ask ourselves.

What’s next? comes closer at the level of home and family. What if the breadwinner is temporarily jobless? What if a divorce is pending? What if a child is in trouble with the law?

When facing challenges, whether concern over the world scene or over what’s going on in our own lives, we need the comfort that someone or something is available to relieve the anguish, to assure us that, despite evidence to the contrary, everything is going to be all right.

We can face down a foreboding sense of what’s next by reaching out for the assurance that God is in our life at this very moment. Basing our prayers on this solid premise is not just a palliative. It’s a spiritually indestructible platform for the confidence that the power of God in our life is not a far-off, someday, one-time event, but an eternal, ever-present fact, existing in the now of our lives.

How can one be convinced of this when faced with what feels like overwhelming evidence to the contrary? The answer is not by sticking our heads in the sand or wringing our hands in despair. The Bible assures us of God’s nearness in these words from the book of Jeremiah: “Am I a God at hand, saith the Lord, and not a God afar off? Can any hide himself in secret places that I shall not see him? saith the Lord. Do not I fill heaven and earth?” (23:23, 24).

This humble acceptance of God in our lives aligns us with His laws, always operating on behalf of His creation. It disperses the clouds of “what’s next?” and reveals the realness of the good that is now.

God’s precious offspring, every single one of us with no exceptions, have equal access to Him. We can know with spiritual authority that our existence is shaped and maintained by Him, that whatever weighs heavily on us can be lifted. There are no dark tomorrows because the only “what’s next” in God’s universal kingdom is actually what’s now – the uninterrupted unfolding of good.

St. Paul put it this way in his letter to the church at Corinth, “[B]ehold, now is the accepted time; behold, now is the day of salvation” (II Corinthians 6:2).

Man and woman have ever been held in the arms of their Father-Mother God, and that special place is ours to occupy now, not at some future date. We are already in it – in that “secret place of the most High” as the Psalmist put it.

We pray out from that invulnerable place, holding to the ability bestowed upon us by an all-loving God whose spiritual creation cannot be intruded upon. The core of our being is not matter-bound but spiritually structured and maintained. The following statement is from the writings of Mary Baker Eddy, a spiritual thinker who glimpsed and proved the underlying principles of Jesus’ teachings as practiced by his followers: “St. Paul wrote, ‘Rejoice in the Lord always.’ And why not, since man’s possibilities are infinite, bliss is eternal, and the consciousness thereof is here and now?” (“Miscellaneous Writings 1883-1896,” p. 330).

When I hit a bump in my daily activities, I try to view it in a different light. Rather than feeling that God has temporarily deserted me, I see it as an opportunity to confirm His ever-present readiness right now to support my efforts to be in harmony with Him. Faithfully doing this helps me remain unflustered and undisturbed when faced with minor irritations – or major disruptions.

Instead of bracing ourselves for the next disaster, whether in the world or in our home, we can enlarge our prayers to see that each idea of God is presently and permanently held in His protective embrace. Basing our prayers on God’s moment-by-moment goodness opens our eyes to behold the benefits He is constantly bestowing upon us, eliminating the fear of what’s next with the awareness of the good that God is imparting right now.

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