Early this spring a friend sent me an e-mail rejoicing that her crocuses were blooming. In my yard, however, I saw no signs of my crocuses. Weeks later, I realized that, expecting another tough winter, I had covered the plants with too much mulch. This prevented them from getting the light they needed. After I unburied them, they made speedy progress.
Sometimes, we may feel like those flowers – we may have hopes and aspirations, but feel overwhelmed by darkness, that is, by the obstacles we face.
When I’m in this kind of situation, I find the Bible full of helpful inspiration. For example, few would deny that Moses was a courageous man and a great leader. But he wasn’t very exceptional at first, and when God called him to lead the Israelites to freedom, he wasn’t exactly enthusiastic.
As the Bible tells it: “Moses said unto the Lord, O my Lord, I am not eloquent, neither heretofore, nor since thou hast spoken unto thy servant: but I am slow of speech, and of a slow tongue.” This obstacle would have prevented Moses from “flowering” into the great leader he became. But God had the needed reassurance: “And the Lord said unto him, Who hath made man’s mouth?” (Exodus 4:10, 11).
Moses’ growing understanding of God enabled him to overcome his limitations – including his fear that he couldn’t speak well enough to lead the Israelites to freedom. Bible readers today know the rest of the story: God sent Aaron to help Moses speak, and Moses not only brought the Israelites out of Egypt but was able to speak to them in God-directed ways that kept them moving forward and out of danger.
The Bible shows over and over again that we can lean on God, even in tasks that aren’t as huge as what Moses faced. God “hath made” each of us in His own perfect, spiritual image (see Genesis 1:26, 27). Through prayer we become receptive to the ideas He gives, which help us do what we need to do.
I actually find it encouraging that Moses’ assignment didn’t suddenly become a bed of roses. It helps me to see that even when the going is tough, we can still turn to God for light. Spiritual illumination comes through Christ, the light of God’s presence and power, which Christ Jesus manifested, and which enabled him to demonstrate God’s love for all by healing people.
When I was getting my doctorate in religious education, I learned about Christian Science from a colleague at the university where I worked. She gave me a copy of Mary Baker Eddy’s book “Science and Health with Key to the Scriptures.” The ideas in this book showed me more clearly the reality of Jesus’ teachings and how they could give me a deeper understanding of God. I began to perceive the actuality of God’s presence in my life in a way that was alive and transforming. It improved my health and was vital to finishing my studies.
This statement from Science and Health helped me many times while I was doing research for my dissertation: “Love inspires, illumines, designates, and leads the way. Right motives give pinions to thought, and strength and freedom to speech and action” (p. 454). Understanding that I could turn to God, who is divine Love, for inspiration when I faced difficulties kept me from feeling discouraged. Also, when people seemed unwilling to help me, instead of becoming angry, through prayer I found ways to speak peacefully with them and gain their cooperation.
I ran into a number of obstacles during my academic studies, sometimes because I was an American working in a different country, and other times, perhaps, because I was a woman. In every case I found that turning to God, divine Mind, helped me better understand the spiritual reality that God cares for His beloved creation. Praying in this way also led me to see how to respond and what to do so I could complete my work.
Since then, I have had many more experiences that prove the reality of God’s presence in our lives. When things seem dark – like it was for those mulch-covered plants – each of us can turn to God in prayer and let in the light of Christ, which is always here to reveal spiritual reality and guide us in the right direction.