A Christian Science perspective.

Just recently, after I’d been praying about several challenging situations in my life, this phrase came to thought just as I was falling asleep: “The Lord is in this place; and I knew it not.” What a holy reminder! I’ve often gained strength and courage in difficult circumstances, or been lifted out of despair, by the reminder that I’m never separate from God – and this time was no exception. With a grateful heart, I accepted this gift from our Father and regained my peace.

In the morning, I looked up the quote and found it in the book of Genesis: “And Jacob went out from Beersheba, and went toward Haran. And he lighted upon a certain place, and tarried there all night, because the sun was set;... And he dreamed, and behold a ladder set up on the earth, and the top of it reached to heaven: and behold the angels of God ascending and descending on it. And, behold, the Lord stood above it, and said ... I am with thee, and will keep thee in all places whither thou goest, and will bring thee again into this land; for I will not leave thee, until I have done that which I have spoken to thee of. And Jacob awaked out of his sleep, and he said, Surely the Lord is in this place; and I knew it not.” (Genesis 28:10-16).

In that moment of revelation, Jacob began to realize his relationship with God, his Father, and started to wake up to the truth that his life and purpose were established by his Creator, not through his own willfulness or planning.

And the truth is, God is in every place. No matter where we find ourselves – on a busy highway, in an airplane, at the back of a long line, in a hospital – God is present, and His angels are whispering messages of comfort and peace to our waiting hearts. These angel messages give us the strength to climb higher.

Mary Baker Eddy, the founder of The Christian Science Monitor, wrote in her book “Science and Health with Key to the Scriptures”: “The very circumstance, which your suffering sense deems wrathful and afflictive, Love can make an angel entertained unawares” (p. 574).

This is exactly what happened to Jacob, and more than once in his life. At the time when he realized that God “was in this place,” he had been running away from his own bad behavior and from the wrath of his brother Esau, whom he’d defrauded of his birthright and his father’s blessing. Yet, even in the midst of his fear and guilt, Jacob found himself still in the presence of angels, who opened his heart to the companionship of his divine Father. The angels reminded Jacob that no matter where he was and no matter what he had done, God was still with him – correcting, comforting, and guiding his life. God was helping Jacob fulfill his holy purpose.

No matter where we find ourselves, divine Love is speaking to us, communicating exactly what we need to hear. Our fears are calmed by messages of courage; our guilt is assuaged by the knowledge that Love washes us clean each moment; our wants are met by divine abundance. Today we can rejoice with Jacob and declare, “The Lord is in this place, and now I know it!”

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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.

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