Stability in unstable times
A Christian Science perspective: The divine Principle that underlies true stability.
—Years ago I saw a carnival attraction, in which the floors under your feet tipped and moved as you walked through. The fun was in trying to keep your balance while you struggled to get to the end!
Times of upheaval and instability sometimes feel a little like that, except they’re not usually fun. If we feel off-balance and uncertain about the future, and the things we’ve counted on for stability aren’t there anymore, such times are never of themselves good or desirable. But they can actually turn into blessings, if they push us to look beyond material trusts to discover our inseparability from God.
The Bible is full of encouraging passages that convey profound views of the unchanging relationship we have to our Father-Mother God. In the book of Psalms, for instance, we see the deep confidence that the psalmist had in God as a refuge from the upheavals of materiality: “God is our refuge and strength, a very present help in trouble. Therefore will not we fear, though the earth be removed, and though the mountains be carried into the midst of the sea; though the waters thereof roar and be troubled, though the mountains shake with the swelling thereof.... The Lord of hosts is with us; the God of Jacob is our refuge” (Psalms 46:1-3, 7).
In various ways Christ Jesus taught and demonstrated for all of us that God is the steady, unchanging source of all good. For example, in parables of lilies that don’t toil or spin yet are clothed, and ravens that “neither sow nor reap” yet are fed (see Luke, chap. 12), Jesus illustrates the unshakable reliability of God in providing all we need. And he reassures his listeners with this promise – “Fear not, little flock; for it is your Father’s good pleasure to give you the kingdom” (verse 32).
God gives us “the kingdom,” all that’s necessary to our happiness and well-being. His harmonious government is constant, because He is infinite, unchanging Love, the divine Principle that undergirds creation and which never shifts or falls away. As God’s children we are each spiritual – God’s expression, or image – and divine Principle maintains our completeness and safety through His law of unchanging good. This spiritual reality isn’t discerned through the physical senses or materialistic reasoning. But it becomes increasingly evident to us as we learn to trust what spiritual sense is telling us of God.
Many years ago I was in a job in which everything around me was shifting and falling away. Because of organizational changes, I was told my position was no longer needed, and my assistant was taken from me. Rather than complain, I quietly waited on God’s disposal of events, knowing that this unerring, loving Principle was governing, and would care for me in just the right way.
Despite repeated indications of imminent change, I continued to trust God and wait. In the end, it was a full year before my position was phased out. By that time my own circumstances were such that the change was harmonious and didn’t harm me. I left feeling completely at peace.
As we become more conscious of the steady harmony of God’s government, we are able to pray more effectively in situations of wider disruption, as well. Confident trust in God, the infinite divine Mind, makes us less inclined to just leave things in the agitated hands of mortal mind, the material-mindedness in which willful assertiveness, anger, and animosity sometimes seem to breed more of the same on all sides. Such conditions call for prayer, spiritual discernment, and trust in God, who encompasses and governs all of His creation.
Referring to God, Mary Baker Eddy states in the Christian Science textbook: “The real jurisdiction of the world is in Mind, controlling every effect and recognizing all causation as vested in divine Mind” (“Science and Health with Key to the Scriptures,” p. 379).
And elsewhere she writes: “[L]et us meekly meet, mercifully forgive, wisely ponder, and lovingly scan the convulsions of mortal mind, that its sudden sallies may help us, not to a start, but to a tenure of unprecarious joy” (“The First Church of Christ, Scientist, and Miscellany,” p. 201).
True peace, stability, and joy are found in an understanding of God, whose love and government are unchanging. This is true for us individually and for all mankind.