God is in the details

A Christian Science perspective.

Many of us hear the phrase “Have a good day” so often that it just rolls off – but when you stop to think about it, who doesn’t want to experience more good days? After all, if you string enough good days together, you’ll have a good life. The challenge, then, is how to minimize those not-so-good days – the ones that begin with morning news that’s cause for concern, congested traffic, and problems at work or at school, and then go downhill from there.

While a mixture of good and bad days seems typical, how nice would it be if our sense of calm and well-being wasn’t interrupted by worries, discouragement, or annoyances that lead to bigger problems? Actually, I’ve found that it is possible for good days to be the norm – it just takes a different approach.

Back when I was still learning about God, I did most of my prayer during church services, when I really needed help, or when I was thanking God for having met a need. Other than that, I didn’t think about Him much.

Later, though, when I became familiar with the writings of Mary Baker Eddy, the discoverer of Christian Science, I realized that my prayers shouldn’t be left at the doorway of the church. Instead, I needed to rely on God’s guidance throughout the day to resolve issues both big and small. As Jesus told his followers, “Ask, and it shall be given you; seek, and ye shall find; knock, and it shall be opened unto you” (Matthew 7:7). We don’t always need long or eloquent prayers to do this. Sometimes simply affirming that “God is Love” can lead to a peaceful resolution.

Since God is omnipotent (all-powerful), omniscient (all-knowing), and omnipresent (everywhere), His divine help is the best help we can get. You may have heard it said that God is in the details – involved in every facet of our lives. Through diligent prayer and study of His word, we learn to recognize God’s presence and goodness in our lives, and challenges that seemed troublesome before will fall by the wayside. What’s best is that there’s nothing vague or ambiguous about this practice. As we draw closer to God, we’ll reliably experience greater harmony in our day-to-day lives. More and more, we’ll see life through a spiritual lens and trust in God’s control.

My daughter’s friends frequently call her for advice, and one of them recently asked how she remains so calm when presented with tough situations. She was raised as a Christian Scientist and learned at an early age to trust God and turn to Him for help. She knows that no matter how stressful a situation appears, God is the “underlying, overlying, and encompassing” presence and power (Mary Baker Eddy, “Science and Health with Key to the Scriptures,” p. 496); my daughter relies on God for inspiration and answers and encourages her friends to do so, too.

In “The First Church of Christ, Scientist, and Miscellany,” Mrs. Eddy writes, “[D]espair not nor murmur, for that which seeketh to save, to heal, and to deliver, will guide thee, if thou seekest this guidance” (p. 150). In other words, there’s no need to worry or complain, because God meets our needs, big and small, when we ask for His help. When you make the prayerful effort to discern and follow His direction, you’ll find your good days far outweigh the bad – and living the good life isn’t just a dream! 

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Dear Reader,

About a year ago, I happened upon this statement about the Monitor in the Harvard Business Review – under the charming heading of “do things that don’t interest you”:

“Many things that end up” being meaningful, writes social scientist Joseph Grenny, “have come from conference workshops, articles, or online videos that began as a chore and ended with an insight. My work in Kenya, for example, was heavily influenced by a Christian Science Monitor article I had forced myself to read 10 years earlier. Sometimes, we call things ‘boring’ simply because they lie outside the box we are currently in.”

If you were to come up with a punchline to a joke about the Monitor, that would probably be it. We’re seen as being global, fair, insightful, and perhaps a bit too earnest. We’re the bran muffin of journalism.

But you know what? We change lives. And I’m going to argue that we change lives precisely because we force open that too-small box that most human beings think they live in.

The Monitor is a peculiar little publication that’s hard for the world to figure out. We’re run by a church, but we’re not only for church members and we’re not about converting people. We’re known as being fair even as the world becomes as polarized as at any time since the newspaper’s founding in 1908.

We have a mission beyond circulation, we want to bridge divides. We’re about kicking down the door of thought everywhere and saying, “You are bigger and more capable than you realize. And we can prove it.”

If you’re looking for bran muffin journalism, you can subscribe to the Monitor for $15. You’ll get the Monitor Weekly magazine, the Monitor Daily email, and unlimited access to CSMonitor.com.