You are not left out in the cold

A Christian Science perspective: Finding stability in economically difficult times.

In turbulent economic times, instinctively we want to know where we can turn to find security and stability. This question often has to do with nuts-and-bolts issues such as jobs or finances, or what the government should do for people. But ultimately we need to go deeper because a solution that relies on today’s conditions won’t necessarily work forever.

One reason for this is that such answers often involve material elements that are changeable or may break down over time. Only spiritual answers provide permanent security. Jesus offered a reliable foundation for life that withstands any storm. He said, “Whosoever heareth these sayings of mine, and doeth them, I will liken him unto a wise man, which built his house upon a rock: and the rain descended, and the floods came, and the winds blew, and beat upon that house; and it fell not: for it was founded upon a rock” (Matthew 7:24, 25).

Having a “house” that we know is unshakable brings an undeniable peace. This peace is deeply spiritual because it rests on the assurance that God, or ever-present Spirit, is the source of all that we truly need. This is not a head-in-the-clouds kind of peace. In fact, it’s just the opposite. The peace that comes from understanding God’s love for us is eminently realistic and practical. God’s constant provision becomes evident as we build our lives on the foundation of obedience and spiritual understanding that Jesus pointed out.

As God’s children, we have not been set adrift on a turbulent material sea, left to sink or swim on our own. Nor is God a capricious Deity who chooses to save some and ignore the plight of others. Such views of God are based on what we see through the physical senses. They leave us feeling uncertain and fearful because the material senses cannot comprehend the enduring, supporting presence of our loving Father-Mother.

God’s presence and support “are spiritually discerned,” as the Bible says (I Corinthians 2:14). Spiritual sense is an innate, God-given capacity that we all have, even if we don’t realize it. Spiritual sense enables us to see past the physical turbulence and uncertainties to the solid reality of our being. Where the physical senses see diminishing substance – diminishing accounts, home values, and so on – spiritual sense can bring the assurance of Spirit’s constant, undiminishing substance. If we feel suddenly thrown out into the cold through loss of a job or foreclosure on a home, turning with all our heart to God can open us to the ever-present embrace of the divine Love that never abandons us.

Spiritual sense enables us to understand who we really are, and this understanding will guide us through rough times. Our identity is not the vulnerable mortal we think we are. Instead, we are the expression of God – His “image” and “likeness,” as described in the first chapter of Genesis. Being the expression of God, who is infinite good, we possess unlimited good by our very nature. We’re never separated from good, because God is forever expressing good in us. This continuity of good means we can’t be cut off from useful employment, because our God-given purpose is to actively glorify God, and God is the power that fulfills this purpose each day, through our every good thought or act.

Many have found that by relying less on the reports of the material senses and more on the intuitions of spiritual sense, they begin to find evidence each day of the unchanging, reliable substance of God’s constant care. They find evidence of their God-given wholeness, including the ability and opportunities to glorify God in broader ways. Christian Science founder Mary Baker Eddy wrote: “This scientific sense of being, forsaking matter for Spirit, by no means suggests man’s absorption into Deity and the loss of his identity, but confers upon man enlarged individuality, a wider sphere of thought and action, a more expansive love, a higher and more permanent peace” (“Science and Health with Key to the Scriptures,” p. 265).

The world cannot give us this peace. But it is available to us right here in this world. It comes through a deeper understanding of our eternal, unbroken link with our Father-Mother God.

Reprinted from the Nov. 21, 2008, issue of The Christian Science Monitor.

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