For those of us who have surfed the Web, quite likely there’s been a time when a Web page we’re visiting has redirected us to a new or different link. Often we accept the redirection, because in most cases the old site has been taken down or changed and can’t be reached anymore.
Simply put, “redirect” means to change the direction of something, or to be instructed to inquire or go elsewhere. How about in life? Is there a way we can just as readily change direction and look elsewhere – in other words, go higher – when we encounter problems and challenges?
The Bible offers this in Psalms 5:3: “My voice shalt thou hear in the morning, O Lord; in the morning will I direct my prayer unto thee, and will look up.” “Looking up” is key here. It’s asking us to consciously turn away from fear and to look toward answers, which the Bible confirms are found in Spirit, another name for God. Praying to understand more clearly man’s harmonious relationship to God as His image and likeness (see Genesis 1:26, 27) enables us to redirect our thought in productive ways, bringing good to our own lives, our families, and even the world.
Christ Jesus’ life and ministry showed what’s possible when we “look up” in this way – when we replace fear with trust in God’s goodness. John’s Gospel illustrates how Jesus reoriented people’s thought and actions toward healing and redemption. At one time, the authorities brought to him a woman they’d arrested in the act of adultery. They asked, “Now Moses in the law commanded us, that such should be stoned: but what sayest thou?” (John 8:5).
Rather than getting drawn into negativity and condemnation, Jesus redirected the entire scenario. He invited anyone there who had never sinned to take up the first rock. No one could. Jesus’ inspired answer brought a healing perspective to everyone involved in the situation, not just the woman. His understanding of a loving God redirected their thought, brought more self-awareness and honesty, and resolved the situation harmoniously.
The Christian Science Monitor’s founder, Mary Baker Eddy, once wrote – citing Jesus’ Sermon on the Mount (see Matthew, chaps. 5-7): “When we learn in Science how to be perfect even as our Father in heaven is perfect, thought is turned into new and healthy channels, – towards the contemplation of things immortal and away from materiality to the Principle of the universe, including harmonious man” (“Science and Health with Key to the Scriptures,” p. 276).
Recently the Monitor introduced The Redirect, an initiative designed to tackle the difficult and often misstated issues in the news today. The Redirect’s goal is “to short-circuit fear” by cutting through garish and often inflated rhetoric – especially the pervasive negativity that would rivet our view to the surface appearance only and obscure the solutions that are possible.
The Redirect has given me some fresh ideas on how to pray for the world and redirect conversations of fear-mongering into those that are both constructive and healing in nature. For example: How can we embrace a higher and more affirmative view of ourselves, our communities, and the world?
Prayer is my path for going beneath the turbulence to discern what’s spiritually real and good. Prayer doesn’t ignore offensive conditions or events; instead, it yields practical solutions that bless, rather than condemn or belittle. Once, a member of my staff was caught using company resources and time to search for a new job. Senior management was ready to fire him on the spot. He was a talented and creative person, and it was clear the issues making him dissatisfied needed to be resolved. So in the inspiration of prayer, I suggested a period of probation and weekly reviews.
For me, turning in prayer meant turning to the allness of Principle, of God, as real and supreme, and shutting down fear, recrimination, and distrust in my own thinking. As a result, this young man had a rapid and decisive change of attitude, and ultimately stayed with the firm for many years. A number of the corporate issues were also resolved shortly afterward. This is one of many examples in my own life where redirecting thought in prayer has brought solutions.
Redirecting our thoughts toward the spiritual reality of God’s power and governance of all creation is, indeed, true Christlike discernment. It’s the higher, deeper knowledge that brings patience, uncovers and destroys evil, and points toward solutions that lead to healing.